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Film and Media Studies: Primary Sources

What Are Primary Sources

Primary sources are first-hand accounts, original manuscripts, or records or documents produced at the time of the event.

  • Letters,
  • Photographs
  • Speeches
  • Interviews
  • Government documents
  • Historical records
  • Personal papers
  • Artwork
  • Diaries
  • Original reports on science experiments

are some examples of primary sources.  These may be available in their original form, or they may be reproduced or reprinted in another book or microform collection.

 

How to Cite Primary Sources

Citing primary sources correctly is an important part of studying primary sources, for a number of reasons.

It is important--and ethically necessary--to provide full credit to the creators and publishers of documents, and to allow future scholars to find the source quickly and correctly. Citing a primary source is also crucial to critical thinking and analysis because it requires that the student think carefully about where the source came from, who made it, and in what context the student first discovered it.

Primary vs Secondary Sources

Video from Hartness Library

Examples of Primary and Secondary Sources

Examples of Primary and Secondary Sources

 

Primary Source Secondary Source
Art original artwork article critiquing the piece of art
History slave diary book about the Underground Railroad
Literature poem book or article on a particular genre of poetry
Political Science treaty essay on Native American land rights
Science or Social Sciences report of an original experiment review of several studies on the same topic
Theater videotape of a performance biography of a playwright

Selected Links to Primary Sources