Primary And Secondary Sources: Guide To Improve Your Academic Writing

In a write-up, when someone mentions the sources, it means giving the written credit to the cite from where people discover the information. Yes, it is mandatory; that if you didn’t previously know the information but learned it from another source such as— book, the internet, etc., you must mention your source. Students must perform many research projects while working on a college assignment. When conducting research, you must collect data and evidence from several sources. We refer to the term as primary and secondary sources.

So, if you are going through the blog, it means you want to know more about both primary and secondary sources. Then, let’s start in the below passage.

What Are Primary Sources?

What Are Primary Sources?

A primary source considers as a firsthand account of an event written by one or more people either at the time it happened or a few years afterward. But, the most relevant primary sources are those that got created within a few years of the historical period being studied. A primary source is the most accurate representation of the information’s origin. Meanwhile, you can click here if you have queries— ‘who can take my online class?’

What Are Secondary Sources?

What Are Secondary Sources?

When people analyze or research the primary source to reinstate the idea, it terms as Secondary sources. They’re usually works that summarise, interpret, restructure, or add value to a primary source somehow. They are not eyewitness descriptions of the event but rather someone else’s interpretation of it. Let’s say there are lots of trustworthy secondary sources, so you don’t have to get concerned about utilizing them – as long as the author is reliable. Do you acquire the Words To Start a Paragraph? You can go through the blog here.

Some Examples Of Primary And Secondary Sources

Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Data from archives and manuscriptsJournal articles

Photographs, audio, and video recordings, films,

Research papers


Textbooks are all examples of this

SpeechesEncyclopedias and dictionaries


Commentary about politics

Government DocumentsBiographies

Personal diary or letterEditorials and opinion articles in newspapers

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What Is The Significance Of Primary or Secondary Sources?

Now, it is an interesting question students often ask. Let’s say that sources always give your write-up a credential. It discloses that whatever information you give in your writing is authentic. A primary source offers you direct access to work so you may debate, evaluate, and quote it. But a secondary source gives you a different perspective on the same work. So, if you think primary or secondary source follows the same info, then it is a misconception. Both have distinct significance. 

Primary sources provide us with a distinct perspective on the past. We can better understand how events affected people’s sentiments and thoughts at the time. Whereas, Secondary sources give solid overviews of a subject and are especially valuable if you need to learn about a topic unfamiliar to you. Read the blog here if you want to know How to Write the Best College Assignments & Structuring it.

What Is The Difference Between Primary or Secondary Source?

Some people think of Primary vs. Secondary sources. They believe there are significant differences between these two sources. But, it is not. You want to make sure you use the best sources possible to add your own analysis for any academic work. So, the difference between primary and secondary sources is the author’s proximity to the events. Even if written or found years after the occurrence, a firsthand account of the events is always a primary source. 

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Let’s say video recordings footage from World War II will be original research and will count as a primary source if you are working on this historical event time period. You can cite the video as your primary source and add it as official documents. But secondary sources are those that interpret and analyze primary sources. Consider a World War II newspaper article to have a better understanding. When you follow scholarly journals, it will be a secondary source.

So, the passage might help you grasp the Primary Vs. Secondary sources. Some people wonder if an eyewitness accounts article can get considered as tertiary sources or not. No, it is not. Besides that, click here to learn the Important Guidelines for Punctuation in Poetry.

How To Figure Out A Primary Or Secondary Source?

How To Figure Out A Primary Or Secondary Source?

Many people have no idea if a source is primary or secondary! Don’t worry; you’re not the only student that is in this situation. When it comes to primary sources and secondary sources, things might become a little confusing. To assist you, follow a guide to know to figure out the different sorts of sources. At first, let’s look at the primary source.

It considered primary sources if

  • The primary source gives firsthand proof and raw data on the topic.
  • It provides you with basic information with firsthand knowledge.
  • It is frequently subjective and personal.
  • The research study’s main subject is a primary source. 

It considered Secondary sources if

  • A secondary source interprets or analyses data from the main source (a primary source in most cases).
  • It provides you with other people’s interpretations of the material.
  • A secondary source is far more objective than a primary source.
  • It takes a primary source and synthesizes and interprets it.

Which Sources Should You Choose for Your Assignment Writing?

Now, that is an interesting question. Let’s say that the discussion over primary vs. secondary sources will continue for years. The fact is that academics often argue on which sources are the most reliable for study. Some say that students should only collect data from original sources. Others are adamant about using secondary sources. So, which source should you use: primary or secondary? 

To be honest, both are safe to use. It all goes down to personal preference. It also relies on the subject you choose to write on a topic. But, let’s assume you need to be cautious while using secondary sources. You must double-check it to ensure that you are utilizing accurate information. For example- If you’re writing about social sciences, you should use primary sources rather than secondary sources. Explore the amazing tips on how to write a peer review.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can You Choose Your Sources by Yourself?

Of course, you can choose which source to use— primary or secondary source. It depends on your write-up. Also, you can use both sources to give your writing a credential.

2. Can You Distinguish If a Source Is Primary or Secondary Sources?

Yes, you can. If you are aware of both the sources and their examples, you can distinguish them within seconds. Primary sources always provide original information whereas secondary sources summarise information from other sources.

3. Is Newspaper Articles Do Consider As Both Primary and Secondary Sources?

Depending on the emphasis of your study, articles in newspapers and magazines can be primary or secondary sources. Old articles utilize as primary sources in historical studies since they provide direct evidence regarding the time period.

But, the article is a secondary source if you are not analyzing it and are merely utilizing it for background information or facts about your issue.

4. Where Can You Find Examples of Primary and Secondary Sources?

In most situations, students are unsure of the sort of source they should use to back up a statement — or where to go for it. In that case, getting in touch with skilled academic writers is the greatest approach to receive additional examples of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources.

5. Is a Book Consider as a Primary Source or a Secondary Source?

It’s possible that the book is a primary or secondary source. But, in general, people consider the book as a secondary source. The book might also be the primary source if you’re examining a novel’s literary device or narrative style.

6. Is Data a Primary or Secondary Source?

Yes, data will always be primary sources. They provide you with immediate access to the research topic. You can utilize the information to do additional research.

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