PRIMARY SOURCES DEFINED
Primary sources are first-hand accounts or individual representations and creative works. They are created by those who have directly witnessed what they are describing, and bring us as close to the original event or thought as possible without being filtered, influenced or analyzed through interpretation. They tend to be original documents that don't usually describe or analyze work by others. Primary sources may be published or unpublished works.
Use primary sources when you want to make claims or criticisms, as evidence for theories, or to gain timely perspectives on a topic.
General examples: Letters, diaries, speeches, interviews, correspondence
History: Transcript of speech given by Queen Elizabeth I; newsreel footage of World War II
Literature: Fiction such as Miguel de Cervantes' novel, Don Quixote; Franz Kafka's short story, The Metamorphosis, or poetry by Robert Frost.
Art: Works by artists such as Pablo Picasso's painting, Three Musicians; or Michelangelo's sculpture, David
Social Sciences: Interview transcripts of mentally ill patients; raw, analyzed population data; newspaper articles about events.
Natural Sciences: Analyzed results from biological study; analyzed field data collected by environmental org; original experiments or research.
Examples: court cases, newspaper articles about current events.