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National History Day Subject Guide

Primary Sources

"What is a primary source? Primary sources are materials directly related to a topic by time or participation. These materials include letters, speeches, diaries, newspaper articles from the time, oral history interviews, documents, photographs, artifacts, or anything else that provides firsthand accounts about a person or event.  

Some materials might be considered primary sources for one topic but not for another.  For exmaple, a newspaper article about D-Day (which was June 6, 1944) written in June 1944 was likely written by a participant or eye witness and would be a primary source; an article about D-Day written in June 2001 probably was not written by an eyewitness or participant and would not be a primarey source."
- Primary Sources: What are They?,


Secondary Sources

"What are secondary sources?  Secondary sources are works of synthesis and interpretation based upon primary sources and the work of other authors.  They may take a variety of forms."
- Secondary Sources: What are They?,

Examples of secondary sources from the site above include: Journal Articles, Reference Books, History Textbooks, Popular Periodical Literature, and General Historical Works and Monographs.




Using Primary Sources

Primary Sources on Research Subject Guide

History Research Guide:

Idaho Research Guide: