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HIS 200 - Applied History

Research guidance and support for HIS-200 Applied History research assignments.

Primary and Secondary Sources

Having trouble keeping primary and secondary sources straight? The differences are important for this project, so we've gathered some information about each for you below.

What is a Primary Source?

Primary sources are original records created during a time or event in history. Examples include letters, speeches, diaries, autobiographies, newspaper articles, interviews, memoirs, and other original documents or artifacts. Usually, primary sources were created during the time period in question, but sometimes, they could be created long afterward (as with memoirs or oral histories). Learn more in Shapiro's FAQ on Primary Sources

What is a Secondary Source?

Secondary sources are resources that were created after the fact, where the authors or creators did not experience the events first-hand but rather interprets or analyzes the primary sources. Usually, for history research, secondary sources are scholarly books and articles. Learn more in Shapiro's FAQ on Secondary Sources.

Next Steps

Now that you know about keyword searching, search tips, and source types, you're ready to get started! Choose your topic from the blue menu buttons on the left, or navigate to the Choosing Your Own Topic option for more information and resources.