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Primary and Secondary Sources What are they?. Primary sources A primary source is an original document; first-hand account. A primary source is a document.

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Presentation on theme: "Primary and Secondary Sources What are they?. Primary sources A primary source is an original document; first-hand account. A primary source is a document."— Presentation transcript:

1 Primary and Secondary Sources What are they?

2 Primary sources A primary source is an original document; first-hand account. A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS: diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records, photographs CREATIVE WORKS: poetry, drama, novels, music, art OBJECTS: furniture, clothing, buildings, memorabilia, antiques, jewelry, pottery

3 Is the information credible? Ask yourself some questions: o How does the author know these details? o Was the author present at the event or soon on the scene? o Where does this information come from—personal experience, eyewitness accounts, or reports written by others? o Are the author's conclusions based on a single piece of evidence, or have many sources been taken into account?

4 Why do we need to worry about a source being creditable? When we do not insure that the information we are using is worthy of being used, we run the risk of corrupting all of our conclusions.

5 Creditable or not…

6 Primary Sources Diaries and Journals ▫Example: Anne Frank was a teenager during World War II. She kept a diary or journal the years before she died in a concentration camp. Her diary was later published as the “Diary of Anne Frank”. This is a primary source.Diary of Anne Frank ▫Example: Sarah Morgan was young woman during the Civil War. She wrote in her diary or journal what happened to her and her family during the war. This is a primary document because it was first hand. She wrote it at the time it happened. ▫Sarah Morgan Dawson: A Confederate Girl's DiarySarah Morgan Dawson: A Confederate Girl's Diary

7 Primary Sources Autobiographies ▫An autobiography is when you write a book about yourself.  Example: Nelson Mandela wrote his autobiography about events in his life called “Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela”. This is a primary document because he wrote about his first hand experiences.

8 Primary Sources Speeches are considered primary sources. ▫Examples:  Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address”  Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”  A President’s Inauguration Speech

9 Primary Sources Historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution are primary documents. They were drafted and signed. Other primary sources would be: birth certificates government records deeds court documents military records tax records census records art

10 Primary Sources Published first-hand accounts, or stories are considered primary resources. ▫Example: 2008 Presidential candidate Senator John McCain talked about his “own” experiences as a Vietnam prisoner of war. It is a primary source because he was there, experienced the events and shared it first hand. ▫Television stations found footage of Senator McCain at the time that he was freed. Those videos are also considered primary sources because they were filmed when he was he obtained his freedom.

11 Primary Sources Sound Recordings and interviews are considered primary resources. ▫Example: During the Great Depression and World War II, television had not been invented yet. The people would often sit around the radio to listen to President Roosevelt’s war messages. Those radio addresses are considered primary sources.

12 Primary Sources Photographs and videos are primary sources. ▫Example: Photographers during World War II took photographs of battles and/or events during the war. Those photographs are primary sources. Those were taken during actual events. ▫The same holds true for videos or film created during an event.


14 Primary Sources Letters are considered primary documents. ▫Example: Soldiers during wars wrote to their families about war events they experienced.


16 Examples Diaries and journals Autobiographies Speeches Historical documents Birth Certificates Government records222 Deeds Court documents Military records Tax records Census records Art

17 What is a Secondary Source? A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Some types of secondary sources include:

18 Secondary Sources Examples of secondary sources include: a journal/magazine article which interprets or reviews previous findings a history textbook a book about the effects of WWI reference books: encyclopedias, special historical dictionaries, and historical atlases

19 Secondary Sources Biography A biography is a writing of another person’s life. Alice Fleming wrote a biography on the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

20 Primary or Secondary Source? Newspaper and Magazine articles can be a primary or secondary source. ▫If the article was written at the time under study, then it is a primary source. ▫Example: Articles that are interviews are primary. ▫Example: Articles that interpret, explain, or analyze interviews are secondary.

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