The purpose of this guide is to help users to locate, identify, and use primary resources in their research.
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"Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later. Primary sources are characterized by their content, regardless of whether they are available in original format, in microfilm/microfiche, in digital format, or in published format." (Source: "Primary Sources at Yale")
Primary sources may include:
Using Primary Sources
A researcher of past events in any field (history, political science, religion, economics, and society, among others) uses primary sources:
Secondary and Tertiary Sources
Adapted from The Information-Literate Historian: A Guide to Research for History Students, by Jenny L. Presnell. New York: Oxford University Press, © 2007; Writing History: A Guide for Students, by William Kelleher Storey, New York: Oxford University Press, © 2009; The Craft of Research by Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, Joseph M. Williams. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, © 2003