Answered By: Robert Fitzpatrick
Last Updated: May 14, 2018     Views: 173

Primary Sources and Secondary Sources


A primary source comes directly from the person, place, or time you are researching.  A secondary source uses primary sources to cite, comment on, summarize, or build upon.  

Photographs, diaries, autobiographies, paintings, newspaper articles and sculptures are examples of primary sources about the time and place they were created.  Text books and biographies are good examples of secondary sources, because they were not created in the time and place under study.

The diary of Anne Frank is a primary source to anyone studying Anne Frank, World War II, the Holocaust, or Europe during the 1940s, for example.  The book Anne Frank, Beyond the Diary is a secondary source because it builds off primary sources and was written later.