Primary Sources

Primary Sources are useful because they offer an original viewpoint on an event from a person who was there. Primary sources offer insight into why events occurred or why a person made a particular decision at a given point in time. Be aware that primary sources can be prone to biases or present inaccurate information.



  1. NewspapersEpilogue, 1948
  2. Newsreels
  3. Oral Histories
  4. Maps
  5. Blueprints
  6. Autobiographies
  7. Records of Court Proceedings
  8. Speeches
  9. Church Records
  10. Business Records
  11. Correspondences
  12. Interviews
  13. Websites (in some cases)
  14. Artifacts
  15. Scholarly Journal Articles (in some cases)

Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources, based on primary sources, are useful because they expose the researcher to other people's viewpoints on a given event or person. They also provide the researcher with the names, dates and events related to a topic.



  1. Monographs
  2. Scholarly Journal Articles (in some cases)
  3. Second-Hand Accounts of an Event
  4. Biographies
  5. Documentaries
  6. Websites (in some cases)


Drexel University. “The Basics: Frequently Asked Questions About Archives.” 2012.

Harvard University. “Frequently Asked Questions.” (Last Modified September 2022).

Society of American Archivists. "A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology." (accessed on October 17, 2014).

St. Mary's University of Minnesota. "Primary vs. Secondary Sources." (accessed October 7, 2014).