So, if you're writing on Emily Dickinson's "Hope is the thing with feathers," the poem is your primary source and a critical article discussing the poem is a secondary source. Sources that are even further removed (e.g., because they synthesize and describe material from secondary sources) are called tertiary sources.
Secondary sources are interpretations and analyses based on primary sources. For example, an autobiography is a primary source while a biography is a secondary source. Typical secondary sources include: Scholarly Journal Articles. Use these and books exclusively for writing Literature Reviews. Magazines. Reports. Encyclopedias. Handbooks. Dictionaries.
On occasion, secondary sources will collect, organize, and repackage primary source information to increase usability and speed of delivery, such as an online encyclopedia. Like primary sources, secondary materials can be written or non-written (sound, pictures, movies, etc.).
A primary source is information collected firsthand from historical documents, literary texts, artistic works, experiments, surveys, and interviews. A primary source is information collected firsthand from historical documents, literary texts, artistic works, experiments, surveys, and interviews.
And although diaries and letters are similar in important ways, each form has its own purposes and possibilities. Compared to many other kinds of written sources, both letters and diaries seem at first to be strikingly "private" kinds of writing. They give us the past from individual points of view.
Examples of primary sources: Oral histories Oral histories are accounts given by a person of events earlier in their life. Often, they are taken by family members, historians, archivists, or others who interview older people in an attempt to document events and lives that might otherwise be forgotten.
Secondary sources are less easily defined than primary sources. Generally, they are accounts written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. They are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources. Secondary sources are not evidence, but rather commentary on and discussion of evidence.