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History: Primary vs Secondary Sources

The purpose of this guide is to help you get the most out of Greenwood Library's resources for research in history.

For an overview of the difference between Primary and Secondary sources in historical research, please watch this 8 minute video.

History Skills. "Primary and Secondary Sources in History Explained." September 21, 2018. YouTube video,

What is a Primary Resource?

Primary sources are original, first-hand accounts. Secondary sources provide some analysis or interpretation of primary resources. Example:

Primary vs. Secondary sources

Credit for graphic:

You can often find primary sources online that have been digitized, and we have several books and databases that will help: