Today we will talk briefly about primary sources. What is a primary source? A piece of evidence from the past that was created during the event. A diary, letter, photograph, newspaper article, and legal documents are all examples of primary sources. A birth certificate is an example of a primary source, although it may contain some secondary source material. More on secondary sources later.
The Chicago Metro History Education Center has a great worksheet on primary sources for kids to use.
Primary sources can help history come alive and should be “listened to” during the research process. Be wary though because not everything you read is the truth. Sometimes the truth is stretched to make an event more exciting. Various pieces of evidence should be consulted while examining a topic before drawing many conclusions and writing your own piece based on the evidence.
There are a few great worksheets available to help guide you through primary source research. These are from an out of print book called A History Handbook for Student Research Projects by Gerald Danzer. I will have to see if I can locate this book through a used book seller. The worksheets are fantastic!
Check back because I will tell you where to find primary sources.
- New handouts such as Primary vs Secondary sources, and MORE! (sullivanlibrary.wordpress.com)