Primary Sources - Introduction

Using primary sources is critical to your research. Primary sources become the supporting evidence for your own arguments and interpretations on a topic allowing you to add to the scholarship in your area of interest.

The definition of a primary source varies between different disciplines.

  • "In the humanities, a primary source could be defined as something that was created either during the time period being studied or afterward by individuals reflecting on their involvement in the events of that time.

  • In the social sciences, the definition of a primary source would be expanded to include numerical data that has been gathered to analyze relationships between people, events, and their environment.
  • In the natural sciences, a primary source could be defined as a report of original findings or ideas. These sources often appear in the form of research articles with sections on methods and results." 1

1.Primary Sources: definitions. Lafayette College Libraries & Academic Information Resources. http://library.lafayette.edu/help/primary/definitions Accessed September 17, 2012.

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