What are primary and secondary sources?


Primary Sources

Primary sources are direct accounts of a topic. 

In the humanities, primary sources are usually historical documents or eyewitness accounts. Primary sources can include:

  • Journals, letters, or diaries
  • Photographs
  • Audio or video recordings
  • Artwork
  • Government publications
  • Interviews

In the sciences, primary sources are usually results from an experiment or statistical data. Primary sources can include: 

  • Research studies
  • Survey research
  • Case studies
  • Clinical trials
  • Patient interviews

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are works that interpret primary sources. 

In the humanities, secondary sources are usually works that analyze and contextualize primary sources. Secondary sources can include: 

  • Books or articles about a specific topic
  • Biographies
  • Documentaries 

In the sciences, secondary sources are usually works that compare and evaluate primary sources. Secondary sources can include: 

  • Literature reviews and systematic reviews
  • Best practice guidelines and standards
  • Clinical care notes
  • Patient education information
  • Last Updated Sep 02, 2021
  • Views 30
  • Answered By RDP Library

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