ChoosingPrimary SourcesMary Jane GuerraThe History Site
What is a Primary Source?A primary source is a document or object writtenor created during the time that is being studied.These sources were present during a certain timeperiod and offer an insightful view of a particularevent.
Types of Primary SourcesSome types of primary sources include:Original documents: Diaries, speeches, manuscripts,letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies,official records. For example, Anna Frank’s diary.Creative works: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art.Relics or artifacts: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings.Adapted from http://www.princeton.edu/~refdesk/primary2.html
How do I know it is a PrimarySource?Authors How does the author know what he/she knows? Does his/her knowledge stem from personalexperience or having witnessed an event? Does the author cite several other (published) reports?
Content Why is the information being provided or the article written? Are there references to other writings on this topic?Currency/Timeliness Is the date of publication evident? Is the date of publication close to the event described?Adapted from: http://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/howdoi/primarysources.html
Choosing the right onesWhen choosing primary sources for your investigation,keep the following questions in mind: Interest – What is the topic of the primary source? Is itsomething that can relate to your investigation? Variety of Sources – How many sources can youfind related to the topic in question? Journal entries,newspaper articles, political cartoons, speeches. Accessibility – How easy is it to access thedocuments? Can you obtain them online?
Length – How long will it take you to read and analyzethe document? Varied Perspectives – Am I being objective? Am Iusing enough sources to show differentperspectives? Intended Purpose – How will you be using thedocument in your research? Is the document useful tothat purpose?
Where to get these Sources? Article and Newspaper Databases – NY Times Local Archive Sources – Museums Public Web Sources – Universities
Contact me Google Plus: The History Sitewww.plus.google.com/117182091731551122435/about Twitter: @wargirl007 Facebook: Visionaire Consultantswww.facebook.com/pages/Visionaire-Consultants/107318799323079?fref=ts Website: www.mjguerra.com E-mail: email@example.com