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Types of Information Sources

Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary and secondary sources are the two types of materials used for research, and while both are important to creating well-developed projects, they are vastly different. Primary sources offer raw information, or the first-hand evidence compiled by research, whereas secondary sources interpret or analyze the information from primary sources. 

The most significant difference between two different types of sources is that primary sources gives direct access to the subject of the research, while secondary sources provide second-hand information and commentary from other researchers.  

Secondary sources offer summaries, critiques, opinions, and analyses, and are written by people who did not witness or have a direct part in the event or events they are describing. Based on the accounts of primary sources, this type of source is the author’s interpretation of the event or subject matter they are writing about. 

(Content credit: WGU Online)