Secondary vs Primary Sources
If you are looking for something that had happened in the past, and searching in a library, in documents and books, that have materials about that incident or event, you get across many sources that are classified as primary and secondary sources. This article proposes to highlight the differences between the two sources of information by explaining the features of both primary, as well as secondary sources.
What is Primary Source?
Any document or record containing original data or first hand information is called a primary source. These are works that were created by a person who experienced the event himself or was present at the time of the event. Interviews of celebrities, diaries written by famous people, speeches given by leaders at important events, statements made by witnesses in courts etc are always primary source of information. The research papers of scientists containing original research, manuscripts written by authors, cuttings of newspapers, furniture, pieces of clothing, structures, and even artifacts recovered during excavations are all primary sources of information. Primary sources are often the first hand evidence of past events.
What is Secondary Source?
As the name implies, any source of information that describes, summarizes, analyzes, or is derived from a primary source of information is called a secondary source of information. Secondary sources often criticize or help in interpreting the event as described by a primary source of information. The best examples of secondary sources of information are text books, movies based upon historic events, written text about famous people and events from the past, biographies of the rich and the influential, and so on.
What is the difference between Secondary and Primary Sources?
• One creates a primary source of information every time he sends an email, takes a photograph or writes something in his diary or journal. This is because these objects reflect your opinions or condition of an object whose photo was taken at that time.
• Someone replying to your email, refuting or criticizing or praising your comments, or comments on your photograph are examples of secondary sources of information.
• While a primary source of information is considered to be more authentic, it is the secondary source of information that gives different viewpoints and a chance to review earlier events.