Answered By: Liz Svoboda
Last Updated: Jan 18, 2023     Views: 2879

Primary sources are the original documents of an event or discovery.  Primary sources are also records of events as they are first described. They are often considered the most credible sources of evidence and are complimented by secondary which will analyze and give context to primary sources.

Some examples of primary sources are

  • academic articles reporting NEW data and findings, that is, reporting original research
  • works of literature (poems, novels, plays, etc.)
  • works of fine art (paintings, sculpture, pottery, etc.)
  • works of performance art (music, fictional films, plays, musicals, operas, etc.)
  • official records from a government, judicial court, or company
  • diaries and letters
  • maps
  • oral histories
  • speeches
  • autobiographies
  • fictional films and documentaries

Newspaper articles that report on a recent event can be primary sources, but articles that rehash previous events are not primary sources, unless they add new information to the story.

For more information see our guides:


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