Answered By: Elizabeth Goodman
Last Updated: Jul 13, 2021     Views: 584

A primary source is an original account or document from that time period. The American Library Association defines a primary source this way:  "Primary sources are the evidence of history, original records or objects created by participants or observers at the time historical events occurred or even well after events, as in memoirs and oral histories."

For example, if you are writing about Lincoln's assassination, some examples of primary sources would be a newspaper article reporting on the event, diary entries or letters written at the time around the event, or photographs taken documenting the event. 

A secondary source is anything that is not created at the time of the event or time period, but could reference the primary sources to recount or analyze the event or time period. Secondary sources can offer interpretations, summaries, or analysis of an event. Examples of secondary sources are textbooks, dictionaries or encyclopedias, journal articles, opinion publications, and biographies.

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