Answered By: Brandi Porter
Last Updated: Sep 06, 2016     Views: 179


A Primary Source is an original document with first-hand knowledge. They were created by witnesses of an event or recorded at the time of event. Sometimes they are recorded later on, such as oral histories. 

A Primary Source can be:

  • A historical record
  • Government documents 
  • Letters, diaries, or personal papers 
  • Art or literature (poetry, novels, music, etc.) 
  • Autobiographies, memoirs, and  photographs;
  • Interviews (with transcripts)


You can also find more information about primary sources by going to:

  • Go to
  • Find the "Writing & Math Center" tab in the purple navigation menu on the left-hand side
  • Click on the "Writing Center" link
  • From the Writing Center home page, scroll down to the "Understanding Sources" box.
  • Click on the link "A Guide to Understanding Resources" to learn more about understanding primary and secondary resources, scholarly vs. non-scholarly resources, and more.