Primary or Secondary Sources-- How can I tell?

 

Use primary sources to help you...

Use secondary sources to help you...

Understand


Gain a contemporary understanding of a subject

Get background information about or a synopsis of a subject

Interpret


Interpret information YOURSELF (Note: some primary sources can be difficult to understand)

Get help from scholars who might be more specialized in a subject  (Note: be aware of possible source bias)

Write


Write an essay that requires you to express your original understanding of a subject

Write an essay that requires you to report on what others have said about a subject (and perhaps defend YOUR informed opinion)

Most researchers will benefit from using a combination of primary and secondary sources

Some materials share features of BOTH primary and secondary sources

Some materials could be considered primary OR secondary, depending upon the research focus

Marshall University Libraries | Telephone: 304-696-2320 | Suggestion, Comment, or Complaint?

Copyright ©2008 Marshall University. All Rights Reserved. Marshall University - One John Marshall Drive - Huntington, WV 25755.

View Mission Statement, Site Disclaimer, or Privacy Policy for more information. Access Text Only Version of site.

Library Site Search
Link to Electronic Directory Link to Contact Information Link to Campus Map Link to Site Index