Skip to Main Content

Participation in Government: Primary vs. Secondary Sources

This guide will prepare students for research and facilitate citation of various sources needed for your research paper.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Most research papers in the arts and humanities require use of primary and secondary sources for critical analysis and support of ideas. But what is a primary source and what is a secondary source? Figuring this out can be complicated!

What is a Primary Source?

"Primary Sources are original records created at the time historical events occurred or well after events in the form of memoirs and oral histories." [RUSA, "Using Primary Sources on the Web," accessed January 2014 through]

What is a Secondary Source?

A secondary source describes, discusses, analyzes or interprets information about an event, object, or person, etc.

Comparison Chart

Primary Sources-Historical Research VIDEO

Primary Resource Sources