Primary sources are materials that you explain, analyze, or interpret, and which get you as close as possible to the idea, event, or topic you are researching without analysis of the topic. They are the ground-level evidence for that topic.
Primary sources often look different depending on your discipline. For example:
Remember: any source can be a primary source, depending on your research question/topic.
To find primary sources, you can:
For subject-specific assistance in finding primary sources, visit:
When your professor asks you to use primary sources in your writing, you are being asked to quote, paraphrase, and incorporate them in the following ways:
1) A source which may be secondary or tertiary in another context (like an encyclopedia) could be used as a primary source, depending on the research topic. Take this book:
2) Primary sources can be scholarly/peer-reviewed… or not.