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Digital Resources

for U-High Students & Faculty

Primary Sources in the Sciencse and the Arts and Humanities

primary source is an original document containing firsthand information about a topic.

Different fields of study may use different types of primary sources.

In the Arts and Humanities, common examples of a primary source are:

  • Autobiographies
  • Diaries
  • Eyewitness Accounts
  • Interview Transcripts
  • Legal Documents
  • Letters
  • Original works of art
  • Photographs of the topic
  • Original Research
  • Video Footage of the topic event
  • Works of literature

In the Sciences, these are common examples of primary sources:

  • Conference Papers
  • Correspondence
  • Dissertations
  • Diaries
  • Interviews
  • Lab Notebooks
  • Notes
  • Patents
  • Proceedings
  • Studies or Surveys
  • Technical Reports
  • Theses

Secondary Sources in the Sciences and Arts and Humanities

secondary source contains commentary on or discussion about a primary source. The most important feature of secondary sources is that they offer an interpretation of information gathered from primary sources

Secondary sources in the Arts and Humanities:

  • Biographies
  • Indexes, Abstracts, Bibliographies (used to locate a secondary source)
  • Journal Articles
  • Literary Criticism
  • Monographs, detailed study, written about the topic
  • Reviews of books, movies, musical recordings,. works of art, etc.
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Textbooks
  • Websites (also considered primary)


Secondary Sources in the Sciences:

  • Criticism and Interpretation
  • Dictionaries
  • Directories
  • Encyclopedias
  • Government Policy
  • Guide to Literature
  • Handbooks
  • Law and Legislation
  • Monographs
  • Moral and Ethical Aspects
  • Political Aspects
  • Public Opinion
  • Reviews
  • Social Policy
  • Tables