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644 James B. Hunt Dr.
Mount Olive, NC 28365
(919) 658-7869
644 James B. Hunt Dr., Mount Olive, NC 28365 | (919) 658-7869

Research & Citation Tools

Primary Source or Secondary Source?

Primary Source Secondary Source
Firsthand account (created by someone who was there or lived during the time period) Secondhand account (usually about an event in the past)
Created at the time of the event/ during that time period Usually created after an event has taken place, may include primary sources, but also includes other sources and commentary
Does not interpret the event, time period, or subject Provides an extra layer of commentary about the event, time period, or person that the work describes
Examples: court proceedings, newspaper articles, letters, diaries, photographs, art, eyewitness accounts, research where an experiment was performed or direct observations were made, interviews, videos, online communication (emails, listservs, blogs, social media comments, FacebookLive, Boomerang),* data and statistics

*Please check with your professor before you choose to use social media publications as a source. You will probably be better off using newspaper articles, letters, diaries, etc.
Examples: most books about a topic that are NOT published diaries, letters, or autobiographies; most scholarly articles about a topic, data analysis/interpretation, documentaries

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