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United State Womens History

A guide of library and open access resources

Resources at UNCSA Library

The UNCSA Library catalog provides access to books physical and electronic, databases, journals, and articles. Below information defining primary and secondary sources, as well as search terms that will aid you in your research journey.

What are primary sources?

A primary source is a first-hand or contemporary account of an event or topic. They are the most direct evidence of a time or event because they were created by people or things that were there at the time or event. These sources have not been modified by interpretation and offer original thought or new information. Primary sources are original materials, offering first-hand accounts.

Examples: Letters, diaries, minutes, photographs, artifacts, interviews, and sound or video recordings, oral histories, newspaper or journal articles, and memoirs or autobiographies.


What are secondary sources?

Secondary Sources offer an analysis or restatement of primary sources. They are one step removed from primary sources, though they often quote or otherwise use primary sources. They summarize, interpret, reorganize the event and information.

Examples: Textbooks, edited works, books and articles that interpret or review research works, histories, biographies, literary criticism and interpretation, reviews of law and legislation, political analyses and commentaries and documentaries (though they often include photos or video portions that can be considered primary sources).