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Primary Sources vs. Secondary Sources

Primary Sources vs. Secondary Sources

Author: Abigail Montague

Common Core Standard: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.2
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

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What is a primary source?

An artifact or document that was written at the time the event happened. It is an original. It can be a diary, photographs, audio recordings, videos, speeches, letters, government documents, autobiographies, etc. 


What is a secondary source?

A book or piece of writing written by someone who did not experience what they are writing about first hand. The author will use primary sources as a source of research. Some examples of secondary sources include biographies, textbooks, encyclopedias, etc. 


So, what's the difference between a primary source and a secondary source?

Summary of Primary Sources and Secondary Sources

Primary Sources are original artifacts, while Secondary Sources are re-creations or writing/information taken from research of primary sources. 

When you have to figure out if a source is primary or secondary....ask yourself these questions..

1. Did the person writing the thing do the thing? If your answer is yes then it is a primary source; if your answer is no, then it is a secondary source

2. Where is the information, that is being written about, coming from? If your answer is the author is writing from personal experience, then it is a primary source; if your answer is the author is writing about an event that he/she did research on, then it is a secondary source? 


BIG QUESTION!!!!!!!!!!!!

For your homework I would like you to write research and find one example of a Primary Source and one example of a Secondary Source. You need to have a total of two specific examples (for example: Diary of Anne Frank-Primary Source and A Journal Article on the Civil War- Secondary Source). You then need to give me reasons/data to why you think it is a primary source and why it is a secondary source. *You cannot use my examples...find your own. There are many examples so be creative:) Please add pictures of your sources. You need at least one page typed, double spaced, times new roman, 12 pt font. If you have any questions email me!

Still a bit confused.....

Check out this additional website that sums up Primary and Secondary Sources