Peru State College
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Primary Sources vs. Secondary Sources

Primary sources are original documents or physical objects usually written, created, or produced during the event or time period. It is first-hand information


To search for primary sources add one of these words - charters, case studies, correspondence, diary, documentary films, early works, interviews, letters, manuscripts, pamphlets, personal narrative, public opinion, songs and music, speeches, statistics, statues


Secondary sources interprets and analyzes primary sources. It is second-hand information.


Discipline Example of Primary Source Example of Secondary Source
Art Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa Critique of Renaissance painting
Business NASDAQ stock quotes Analysis of the stock
Criminal Justice Court report Book on criminal procedure
Education Speech by Secretary of Education Education textbook
Literature The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Literary criticism of novel
Music Beethhoven's 5th Symphony Biography on Ludwig Beethoven
Psychology Interview with a patient Journal article about the treatment
Sciences Scientific results of an experiment Magazine article explaining the results