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Stony Brook University

JRN 115: News Reporting & Writing I: Scholarly & Primary Sources

Subject Guides

Use the libraries' subject guide to find where to look for scholarly material based on your research area.

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources refer to documents or other items that provide first-hand, eyewitness accounts of events.
A newspaper article written at the time an event took place (Pearl Harbor, for example) is a primary source. Or a memoir and recollections by someone who was involved in an event, such as an interview with a woman who took part in the Civil Rights Movement.

Some examples of primary source materials are:

  • Printed texts, including books, newspapers, diaries, pamphlets, magazines, and journals
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Paintings
  • Artifacts
  • Audio and video recordings
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Dissertations
  • Government documents

Primary sources are different from secondary sources, which are written later and usually comment on or analyze historic events or original documents.


Reference Librarian

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Chris Filstrup
Central Reading Room
Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY 11794