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POL/HTY 400: Gulf Wars: Home

US M1A1 Abrams tanks from the 3rd Armored Division along the Line of Departure.

Primary Sources

"A document or record containing first-hand information or original data on a topic..."   (The Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science)

Primary sources were either created during the time period being studied or were created at a later date by a participant in the events being studied (as in the case of memoirs).  They reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer.  Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period.  (University of California Berkeley Library)

Examples:

  • Newspaper articles (written at the time)
  • Diaries, letters, journals, interviews
  • Speeches, autobiographies
  • Original hand-written manuscripts
  • Art, photos, films, music
  • Original research, data, or findings
  • Audio and video recordings
  • Artifacts
  • Original documents
  • Websites

Be Aware!

"Primary sources may be more accurate than secondary sources because they have not been distorted by others. Primary sources are not always unbiased, however, because some people present pictures of themselves and their accomplishments that may not be objective" (Harris and Kunka 340-341).

Secondary Source Material

"Any published or unpublished work that is one step removed from the original source, usually describing, summarizing, analyzing, evaluating, derived from, or based on primary source materials..."  ("Dictionary for Library and Information Science")

Examples:

  • Critical analysis essays and review articles
  • Articles about people and events from the past
  • Literature reviews
  • Biographies
  • Historical films, music, and art
  • Textbooks (also considered tertiary)
  • Dictionaries, encyclopedias (also considered tertiary)
  • Bibliographies (also considered tertirary)

"Remember these are interpretations and may be biased, inaccurate, or incomplete. Use secondary sources to support your own thinking and conclusions you reached on the basis of primary sources" (Harris and Kunka 340-341).

Be Aware!

"Remember these are interpretations and may be biased, inaccurate, or incomplete. Use secondary sources to support your own thinking and conclusions you reached on the basis of primary sources" (Harris and Kunka 340-341).