What’s the difference between secondary and primary sources?
Primary sources are contemporary accounts of an event, written by someone who experienced or witnessed the event in question. These are original documents such as diaries, letters, memoirs, journals, speeches, manuscripts, interviews, photographs, audio or video recordings, original literary or theatrical works etc.
Secondary sources are sources, which interpret primary sources, assign value to them, analyze their relevance, draw conclusions.
if you are writing about the philosophy of Nietzsche, the works he authored will be primary sources, while all other books and articles about the philosophy of Nietzsche – secondary.
Writing about World Wars you will probably use secondary sources – articles and books of historians, but you may also use primary ones – soldiers’ letters, poems written at war, written agreements concluded between the states at the time, etc.
Say you write about the gender issues in 60-ies. There are a lot of secondary sources on the topic so far, but you can also analyze some primary ones – the advertisements and movies of the time.
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