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Writing a custom term paper, research paper, or essay, students often do not know the difference between primary and secondary sources. This can lead to problems in writing research papers that require primary sources. The best way to meet the requirements of an essay or research paper is to know what type of sources are needed, which means knowing the difference between primary and secondary sources.
Primary sources means that it is original article or book created by an individual or sometimes a group of people. What types of primary sources are available? It might be surprising to know that a novel is a primary source. Other types of primary sources are paintings created by the artist. If it were a photocopy of the painting, then it would be a secondary source. Some other primary sources are letters, films, short stories, plays, poems, photographs, court cases, journal articles, newspaper events, and speeches. For instance, a speech by President Bush would be a primary source.
In simple terms primary sources come firsthand from the source or person. Diaries would be a primary source because it is written directly by the individual writing in the diary. Interviews are great primary sources because the individual talks about the topic directly from what he/she knows about the topic. Primary sources are usually firsthand information about something such as diaries, court records, interviews, research studies about experiments, and information that has been stated but not interpreted by others.
Some examples of primary sources are e-mails and letters. They are directly written about one person. If this letter was written during World War II and analyzed by another person then it would be a secondary source. Debates, community meetings, surveys, and observations are some different primary sources.
Secondary sources are sources that are written about primary sources. Secondary sources analyze, interpret, and discuss information about the primary source. If a magazine writer wrote about the speech President Bush gave on September 11th, it would be a secondary source. The information is not original, but it is an analysis of the speech.
In simple terms, a secondary source writes or talks about something that is a primary source. For instance, if a person were to write about a painting hanging in the art gallery, this would be a secondary source discussing the original art.
Secondary Sources include journal articles, books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, reviews, newspaper articles, specific essays, etc. Most research papers are based on secondary sources as they build on the research or studies others have done.
Other types of secondary sources are reference materials, books, and CD Rom, magazines, videotapes, and television shows. Most secondary sources analyze the material or restate the works of others. Many secondary sources are used to argue someone's thesis or main points about a topic. For instance, a secondary source would use debates between the presidential candidates in their magazine article and show how one president feels about a topic the writer is discussing.
Sometimes a source can be a primary source in one journal article and a secondary source in another journal article. It depends upon the relationship the writer has in the journal article. If he has been an active part of the research and he custom-writes about it then this is a primary source. If the writer writes about research done by others then this writing will be a secondary source.
Primary Sources are directly taken from an individual or group of individuals, while secondary sources take information from an individual or group and analyzes the topic. Remembering this information helps in deciding whether it is a primary or secondary source.
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