Primary sources can vary by subject and discipline.
What is considered a primary source for the humanities might be different than what is considered a primary source in the social sciences. Please see below for details!
Primary source materials in the humanities typically include one or more of the following characteristics:
|Discipline/Subject||Primary Source Example|
|English||novel, play or poem|
|Art||photographs, paintings, murals, tattoos, sculptures, drawings, sketches|
|Music||recordings, live performance recordings, sheet music, original song writing|
|video/recording of live works: dance, theatre, musical theatre, choreography, rehearsal|
Primary source materials in the social sciences include the following:
|Social Science||Primary Source Materials (examples)|
|Anthropology||government documents, oral histories, ethnographies, research data|
|Archeology||photographs, film documentary, artifacts & objects, sound recordings|
|Economics||government documents/data including Bureau of Labor statistics, Federal Reserve data, Consumer Surveys, Census Bureau, Statistical Abstracts|
|Geography||maps, satellite images, population data, archival photographs|
|History||participant accounts, eyewitness accounts, autobiographies, memoirs, newspaper articles, TV news, interview, diaries, journals, blog posts, YouTube/streaming video, electronic personal communication (email), speeches, interviews, letters, audio/radio, government documents|
|Law||state and federal legislation, state and federal case law, US and state constitutions, court opinions, state and federal regulations, treaties|
|Linguistics||speech recordings, dialect recordings|
|Political Science||government documents (Congressional Record, hearings, committee records/reports), statistics, polls, interviews, speeches, government archives, interviews, speeches, personal papers, personal communication|
|Psychology||empirical research , tests, measurements, scales|
|Sociology||research studies, data archives, professional papers, manuscripts, personal and professional correspondence|
Primary sources in biological, health, and natural science fields typically consist of reports/information on original research that is provided by the participating researchers/scientists.