Q. What are primary sources, and how can I find them?


Primary or first-person sources are items originating from a person who experienced an event first-hand. Examples include correspondence, photographs, maps, newspapers, legal documents, video recordings of theater performances, audio recordings, and data sets.

A key to recognizing the differences between primary and secondary sources is taking note of the presence of analysis or criticism-- the absence of these means you're likely looking at a primary source item. Primary source research means you "bring your analysis" to the item.

For more information about primary source research in the CSUDH Archives & Special Collections visit our guide to finding primary sources or contact the department:


  • Last Updated Sep 23, 2019
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  • Answered By CSUDH Library

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