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English and English Composition: Primary vs. Secondary Sources

This research guide supplements information on English and English Composition studies.

Primary Sources

Primary Sources are materials created during the historical time period or event.

Examples of Primary Sources

  • Artifacts: clothing, coins, furniture, pottery, etc.

  • Audio/Visual recordings

  • Autobiographies

  • Census and demograpic records

  • Diaries

  • Dissertations

  • Experiments, clinical trials

  • Government documents

  • Interviews

  • Journal articles/original research

  • Legal documents

  • Letters and correspondence

  • Manuscripts

  • Maps and atlases (contemporary)

  • Memoirs

  • News footage

  • Official records

  • Pamphlets

  • Papers delivered at conferences

  • Photographs

  • Posters

  • Speeches

From Texas Women's University:

Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources are materials that discuss the historical time period or event.

Examples of Secondary Sources

  • Biographies
  • Books that discuss or analyze a topic
  • Commentaries
  • Criticisms
  • Encyclopedias
  • Indexes and abstracts
  • Journal or magazine articles from previous research
  • Newspaper articles
  • Reviews of art, books, movies, etc.
  • Textbooks

From Texas Women's University: