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Primary vs. Secondary Sources Lesson Essential Question: What makes a historical document trustworthy and reliable?

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Presentation on theme: "Primary vs. Secondary Sources Lesson Essential Question: What makes a historical document trustworthy and reliable?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Primary vs. Secondary Sources Lesson Essential Question: What makes a historical document trustworthy and reliable?

2 Primary Sources Primary sources are the ORIGINAL sources of information recorded at the time an event occurred. – First-hand accounts of events – Data collected for scientific studies – Historical documents Image found at: tml

3 Why use primary sources? To get feelings and emotions from people who witnessed an event or time period. To obtain details such as people’s actual words or objects. To get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period.

4 Primary Source Examples Diaries Speeches Interviews Original Government Documents (birth certificate, house deed, etc) Original Newspapers Autobiographies Photographs Artifacts Image taken from: ib/ourdocs/DeclarInd.html

5 Examples of Primary Sources: Baseball Cards Photos Editorial Cartoons Image taken from: s/images/cychas.jpg Image taken from: Image taken from:

6 Secondary Sources Secondary sources give information written or created at a LATER time by someone who was NOT present/witnessing the event Secondary sources of information are created FROM primary sources – Summaries of primary sources – Interpretations of primary sources

7 Why use secondary sources? To get expert opinions in order to evaluate what really happened. To gain understanding by examining the same event from different perspectives. To get a neutral point of view. To save time by reading information collected from a number of different sources.

8 Secondary Source Examples Dictionaries Encyclopedias Articles that review other sources Textbooks Biographies Atlas

9 Examples of Secondary Sources: Biographies Textbooks Encyclopedias Historiographies Image taken from Image taken from teachertoldme.php

10 Secondary Source Example The image on the right shows a snippet of a review of the book Lies My Teacher Told Me. Book reviews are secondary sources. Image taken from: Lay, Suzanne. "Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong." Library Journal 132.18 (2007): 76-81. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 17 Dec. 2010.

11 Primary or Secondary Sources? Newspaper and Magazine articles can be BOTH a primary or secondary source. – If the article was written at the time something happened, then it is a primary source. – Example: The articles written on Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 are primary sources. – However, if a reporter in 2009 wrote about George Washington’s inauguration using information written by someone else (1789), that would be a secondary source.

12 Both Primary and Secondary sources may have a slant or bias Primary Source Bias Example: John Adams Personal Papers In his personal diaries, John Adams said he was the main author of the Declaration of Independence. He claims that the gave the ideas and many of the wordings to Thomas Jefferson. But, Thomas Jefferson signed the Declaration of Independence so he gets much of the credit in history textbooks. Secondary Source Bias Example: History Textbooks A history textbook is a secondary source. Because there is so much history to cover, much of what is discussed shows the positives and not the negatives. Some countries might want to leave out “bad events” from their history that they are embarrassed by, such as slavery. You need to look at both primary and secondary sources carefully to see if the information they give lines up (is consistent). Bias (when one person takes one side; favoritism) can come up in either type of source so it is important to double check.

13 Summing Up It is important to determine the type of information you are looking at. – Primary sources are original sources of information – Secondary sources summarize, analyze, or critique primary sources – Both primary and secondary sources can be good sources of information, but you need to critically evaluate them.

14 You Try! Click on this link and try and identify if the source is primary or secondary - Click on this link and play a game similar to who wants to be a millionaire –

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