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Tutt Library Research Guides
What is a primary source?
describes material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied that was created in the time under study
- an artifact, a document, a recording
- new scientific data, results, and theories
- official reports, speeches, pamphlets, posters, or letters by participants, and official election returns
- records created by organizations, such as registers of births, tax records, charters, other legal documents, etc.
- eyewitness accounts, oral interviews or documents created by a person with direct knowledge of a situation
- diaries, films, biographies, leading philosophical works, scientific works
- fictional sources such as novels or plays
- physical objects like photographs, newsreels, coins, paintings or buildings
- cite, comment on, or build upon primary sources
Note: a primary source may at times be treated like a secondary source
Tutt Library, Colorado College Research Help Desk: 719-389-6662, Texting: 719-387-5441, E-mail: tuttref@ColoradoCollege.edu