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HNRS 2510: Superstition in the Western World

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Primary vs. Secondary Sources

In the humanities, a primary source is one created at the time of an event, with first-hand evidence. It can be in any format - a book, a newspaper article, an image, an interview (written or YouTube!), an object. It depends on your topic. 

A secondary source discusses and comments on a primary source. These are usually articles and books that are written AFTER the event. 

For example: an article about the Civil War from Harper's Weekly in 1865 is a primary source. An article from Harper's Magazine in 2022 about the Civil War is a secondary source.  

(In science, a primary source is an original research study; but again it's first-hand evidence, not a summary of someone else's paper.)