Skip to Main Content

Primary Sources

A guide to identifying primary and secondary sources.

What are Primary and Secondary Sources?

Primary sources reflect the first-hand experience of witnesses or people involved in an event.  Secondary sources provide analysis or interpretation of documents created by others.  Here are examples for various subject areas:

Art original work of art

critical analysis of the work of art


Business a company's annual report

book or article about a company's management practices and strategy


History Vietnam war diary

a book of historical analysis on the United States Army in Vietnam


Law Texas statutes

a book or article on Texas law


Literature a poem

critical analysis of a poem


Political Science Houston voting statistics

an artice about Houston voters


Sciences and
Social Sciences
report of an original experiment 

an article describing several experiments on the same topic


Theater video of a performance a review of the performance