Loyola University Chicago Libraries

Primary and Secondary Resources: Primary Resources

Definition of Primary Resources

What is a primary source?

A primary source is firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic, an event, a person's life, original works of literature, and historical facts. It consists of original materials that have not been filtered through interpretation, condensation, evaluation or any type of commentary. Primary sources are usually the first formal appearance of results and offer an immediate picture of the topic under investigation.


Proceedings and minutes

Letters and Correspondence

Scientific journal articles reporting research results

Original documents (birth certificate, transcripts)

Technical reports

Photographs and works of art



Sets of data such as Census Statistics

Autobiographies, memoirs

Works of literature (poems or fiction)

Eyewitness accounts


Constitution, statutes

Interviews, surveys


Encyclicals and Other Papal Writings

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