A primary source is any material used for research that is considered to be an original document. Most often, primary sources are considered when writing history. Research distinguishes between primary and secondary sources. A modern history of the Roman Empire, for example, is a type of secondary source. A letter from Julius Caesar would be considered to be a primary source.
Examples of primary sources are:
- Original Documents
Primary sources connect a researcher to the past in an intimate, almost first person way. If one wanted to study the Civil War, newspapers of the day, letters, diaries, and Lincoln’s speeches could all be employed as primary sources. This allows an historian to develop an insider’s understanding of the past without the bias of another researcher.
The term primary source has been adopted by disciplines outside of history. Other social sciences consider a primary source to be any data that has been collected to analyze the relationship between people and their environment, such as demographic data. In the natural sciences, primary sources are considered to be original findings, including the original publication of a scientist’s results.
One the most frequent places to find primary sources would be in an archive. Increasingly, archives are being digitized. The Library of Congress, for example, maintains several online collections, including photographs, recordings, and the papers of George Washington.
Related Research Paper Topic Suggestions
Biases Research - Biases in Research essays discuss why it is important for researchers to acknowledge their biases when conducting research.
Data Warehouse - Research papers on data warehouse discuss the repository of data from a host of sources, that deals with the business at hand.
Scholarly Articles - Scholarly Articles are written research papers written by experts in a specific field that collegiate level professors usually require students to use when conducting their own research paper.
Scholarly Journals - Scholarly Journals are largely written by academic experts for academics and are great sources for students to use academic research.
Secondary Data Collection - Secondary Data Collection and search strategies can be divided into three criteria: data retrieval methods, data location, and Internet searching.
Statistical Hypothesis Testing - Statistical hypothesis testing in academic research papers and master's theses.
Statistical Testing Error - Learn about statistical testing errors from Paper Masters. Research papers often contain statistical testing errors.
Theory Critique - Theory Critique Research Papers look at one or two theories within an area of study and critique the theory in light of current research.