Why is it important to have both primary and secondary sources in an essay or report?

First, you need to know the difference between a primary and secondary source. A primary source is the original source document, like the Bible or a historical figure's personal journal or the Declaration of Independence. You need to have the primary source in order to know what was said, was written, or occurred. A secondary source is basically an interpretation/analysis of the primary source. Examples include Bible commentaries, history books, and a biographies of the signers of the Declaration of independence. These secondary sources give you context and insights. You'll want to consult multiple secondary sources, though, as they can disagree or espouse differing viewpoints and interpretations.

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One Response to “Why is it important to have both primary and secondary sources in an essay or report?”

  1. aggrievedness says:

    Primary sources are those that are closest to the event or person; and therefore, are first person/eyewitness testimony. Secondary sources are those that review or explain the event or person, and should show citations for the research involved in developing their viewpoint.