Loyola University Chicago Libraries

Primary and Secondary Resources: Primary Resources

Definition of Primary Resources

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.


  • Autobiographies
  • Constitution
  • Data sets (e.g. Census statistics)
  • Diaries
  • Encyclicals (and other papal writing)
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Interviews
  • Letters and correspondence
  • Memoirs
  • Original documents (e.g. birth certificates, transcripts)
  • Original works of art
  • Patents
  • Photographs
  • Proceedings and minutes
  • Scientific journal articles reporting research results
  • Statues
  • Speeches
  • Surveys
  • Technical reports
  • Treaties
  • Works of literature (e.g. fiction and poetry)

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