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Primary Sources

This LibGuide has been designed to provide information about primary sources.

What Are Primary Sources?

Each academic discipline or field defines and uses primary sources differently. Therefore, the definition of a primary source is contextual and dependent on that specific discipline or field of inquiry. Furthermore, any definition of primary sources also includes distinguishing them from secondary sources. Some disciplines use the term tertiary sources which typically include all three types (primary & secondary).

The humanities and the arts define primary sources as text, images, artifacts, and architecture (any material) that conveys the experience or life at the time they are from. 

The sciences define primary sources as original research.

The social sciences define primary sources similar to the humanities and the sciences. They depend on the nature of the inquiry and research methodology. 

The health sciences define primary sources as original research.

Last Updated: Jul 24, 2024 2:57 PM