ARTS 264 - History of Photography - Course Guide: Primary & Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

Primary Sources...

  • Provide direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person or work of art
  • Are usually written or created during or close to the event or time period being studied
  • Have not been filtered through interpretation or evaluation 
  • Are original materials on which other research is based
  • Can be written or non-written (e.g. sound recordings, photographs, artifacts)
  • Present original thinking, report a discovery, or share new information

Note: Examples of  primary sources may vary depending on the discipline or context.

Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources...

  • Are second-hand accounts written after an event happened
  • Include comments on, interpretation of, or discussions about the original material
  • Are often based on primary sources

Note: Examples of secondary sources may vary depending on the discipline or context.

Fine & Performing Arts

Primary Sources Secondary Sources
Sculptures, architectural models or drawings, buildings or structures, letters, motion pictures or films, organizational records, paintings, personal accounts, photographs, prints, sketch books, lyrics, scores, sound recordings, music, scripts, production notes Evaluations in journal articles, critical reviews, biographies, and critical books about the authors and their works.