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Primary and Secondary Sources

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Presentation on theme: "Primary and Secondary Sources"— Presentation transcript:

1 Primary and Secondary Sources
What are they?

2 Primary Sources are original objects, documents, or sources that give first-hand information were written or produced during the time something was happening gets the investigator as close as possible to what actually happened during the time it happened   

3 Primary Sources Diaries and Journals
Dairies and journals are written to record what happens to a person as it happens. They’re usually private, but sometimes, later, they get published. Anne Frank was a teenager during World War II. ShHer diary was published after she died. This is a primary source.

4 Primary Sources Autobiographies
An autobiography is a story or a book about yourself and your own life. It’s different from a journal. A journal is usually written just for you. An autobiography is written for other people to read. Nelson Mandela wrote his autobiography – it’s called “Long Walk to Freedom”. This is a primary document because he wrote about his own experiences.

5 Primary Sources Speeches
You can watch or read a speech, and it’s “as if you were there.” A speech is a primary source, no matter how or when you access it. The written text of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is a primary source. Click here to read it. President Obama’s 2013 Inauguration Speech is a primary source. Click here to watch the President’s speech

6 Primary Sources Historic documents
These documents have different purposes – some of them record important information, and some of them are creations, which express a new idea. They’re all primary sources. Declaration of Independence Birth Certificates Government records Deeds Court documents Military records Tax records Census records Maps Art Wassily Kandinsky painted the FIRST abstract painting in It’s a primary source.

7 Primary Sources Sound Recordings and Interviews
During World War II, television hadn’t been invented yet. People would often sit around the radio listening to Winston Churchill’s war messages. Recordings of those shows are primary sources. During the 2013 U.S. election, Barack Obama gave many TV interviews. Those interviews are primary sources.

8 Primary Sources Photographs and Videos
Photographs were taken of the first step on the moon. Those photographs are primary sources. They were taken during the actual event. The same is true for videos or film created during an event. A video made of a flood, as it happened, would be a primary source. Click here to see how the flood in Dar es Salaam looked in different parts of the city.

9 Primary Sources Letters, emails and notes
Anything typed or hand-written can be a primary source, if it has recorded important information or ideas. Writers often wrote to their friends and families about books they were writing. They may have shared why they were writing, or asked advice. Those letters are primary sources. s that record important events or ideas are primary sources. Notes that record important events or ideas are primary sources.

10 What is a Secondary Source?
Secondary sources are written or made "after the fact" – at a later time. They are written by people who did not experience the event. Usually the author of a secondary source has studied the primary sources of an historical period or event and then presents their interpretation of the event. You can think of secondary sources as second-hand information.

11 Secondary Sources Biography
A biography is when someone writes about another person’s life. Alice Fleming wrote about Martin Luther King Jr. This is a secondary document. It was written about him after he died.

12 Secondary Sources Almanacs, encyclopedias, history books textbooks, etc. are all secondary sources because they were written after the events.

13 Secondary Sources Think about it like this….
If I tell you something, I am the primary source. If you tell someone else what I told you, you are the secondary source.

14 Primary or Secondary Sources?
Information, no matter where you find it, can be primary or secondary !! If an article was written at the time something happened, it is a primary source. The articles written about Valentina Tereshkova in 1963, when she became the first woman to go to space, are primary sources. If a reporter writes about Valentina Tereshkova today, using information written back in 1963, today’s article would be a secondary source.

15 How Does this apply to Data Collection??
Take a step back – if we’re starting from scratch, how do we collect / find data? Secondary data Primary data

16 Secondary Data Examples in Math Class
County health departments Vital Statistics – birth, death certificates Hospital, clinic, school nurse records Private and foundation databases City and county governments Surveillance data from state government programs Federal agency statistics - Census, NIH, etc.

17 Secondary Data – Limitations
When was it collected? For how long? May be out of date for what you want to analyze. May not have been collected long enough for detecting trends. E.g. Have new anticorruption laws impacted Russia’s government accountability ratings? Is the data set complete? There may be missing information on some observations Unless such missing information is caught and corrected for, analysis will be biased.

18 Are there confounding problems?
Sample selection bias? Source choice bias? In time series, did some observations drop out over time? Are the data consistent/reliable? Did variables drop out over time? Did variables change in definition over time? E.g. number of years of education versus highest degree obtained. Is the information exactly what you need? In some cases, may have to use “proxy variables” – variables that may approximate something you really wanted to measure. Are they reliable? Is there correlation to what you actually want to measure? E.g. gauging student interest in U.W. by their ranking on FAFSA – subject to gamesmanship.

19 Secondary Data – Advantages
No need to reinvent the wheel. If someone has already found the data, take advantage of it. It will save you money. Even if you have to pay for access, often it is cheaper in terms of money than collecting your own data. (more on this later.) It will save you time. Primary data collection is very time consuming.

20 It may be very accurate. When especially a government agency has collected the data, incredible amounts of time and money went into it. It’s probably highly accurate. It has great exploratory value Exploring research questions and formulating hypothesis to test.

21 Primary Data - Examples
Surveys Focus groups Questionnaires Personal interviews Experiments and observational study

22 Primary Data - Limitations
Do you have the time and money for: Designing your collection instrument? Selecting your population or sample? Pretesting/piloting the instrument to work out sources of bias? Administration of the instrument? Entry/collation of data?

23 Uniqueness May not be able to compare to other populations Researcher error Sample bias Other confounding factors

24 Sources Thanks to Melanie Alleman For her original Primary Elementary powerpoint on Digital Wish – this one was adapted from that one.

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