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Evaluate Information

It's all about context...

Determining the difference between a primary and secondary source is tricky because it all comes back to your research question. The difference can also vary across disciplines.

Check out this helpful chart from the BMCC Library for more examples.

Comparing Sources

Primary Secondary
original research analysis of past research
first hand account of an event interprets a primary source, interprets a creative work, a second hand account of an event
could be a newspaper article, a diary entry, an orginial work of art, a lab report, a blog, a speech, etc. could be biographies, history, literary criticism, a review of a clinical trial, conference proceedings, etc.
factual, not interpretive factual and/or interpretive