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Reading Critically and Evaluating Sources

Learn how to critically read and evaluate the sources you would like to use in your research.

What is a primary source? 

Primary sources are first-hand accounts of events and are considered to be authoritative. They represent original thinking, reports on discoveries or events, or they can share new information. Primary sources are usually created at the time of an event and offer insight into that event. 

Examples of Primary Sources: 

  • Original documents (diaries, speeches, letters, minutes, interviews, news articles or footage, autobiographies, official records).

  • Creative works (poetry, drama, novels, music, art, films).

  • Relics or artifacts (jewelry, pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings, tools)

Search for primary sources in these databases!

What is a secondary source? 

A secondary source is a source that analyzes and discusses a primary source or another event. These sources are not first-hand accounts, but they can include primary sources in their discussion. A research article or scholarly book (like a textbook) would be an example of a secondary source. 

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