Primary and Secondary Sources
Trocaire College Libraries
A Primary Source is...
- An official record of an event which is written or recorded by people present at it.
- Factual data – not an interpretation of it.
Primary Sources Include...
- The original published results of a clinical trial, research study or scientific experiment.
- A live interview or a transcript or recording of it.
- Videos of an event recorded as it was happening.
- Notes from a conference or a class.
- Diaries, letters, or other first person accounts.
- Autobiographies or first person accounts in books, eBooks and newspaper.
- Photographs, maps, artwork or other creative works or artifact from a time period.
- Social Media: Tweets, texts, status updates, original blogs or Reddit AMAs.
A Secondary Source is...
- An interpretation or analysis of data, a study or a report.
- A second-hand account of an event.
- These sources may cite or quote the primary source.
Secondary Sources Include...
- Most books and eBooks.
- Criticism and reviews
- Content re-generators
- Comment sections
- Social Media: Pins on Pinterest, re-tweets, shared posts or links to other content.
- Newspaper articles from outside sources
- Magazine articles
- Student research papers
- Journal articles on previous clinical or scientific work
Created June 2020