Humanities › History & Culture History Day - Primary and Secondary Sources How to Evaluate Historical Sources Share Flipboard Email Print Reggie Casagrande/ Photographer's Choice/ Getty Images History & Culture The 20th Century People & Events Fads & Fashions Early 20th Century The 20s The 30s The 40s The 50s The 60s The 80s The 90s American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History Women's History View More By Jennifer Rosenberg History Expert B.A., History, University of California at Davis Jennifer Rosenberg is a historian and writer who specializes in 20th-century history. our editorial process Jennifer Rosenberg Updated April 03, 2017 When studying and learning about history, we must always be questioning the quality of our sources. Who wrote this?How do they know the information they are telling me?When did they write it?Why did they write it?Who did they write it for? These are good questions to ask yourself about every book you read. We should never believe everything we read; you should question everything. Is it inherently impossible for an author to leave out some sort of bias. It is your responsibility to determine their bias and to reflect on how it affected their work. Now I'm sure you're wondering why I've told you all this before I explain the differences between primary and secondary sources. I promise, there is a reason. For every source you use, you will need to think of the questions above to determine which category they fit into - primary or secondary - and how much you can trust what they say. Primary Sources Primary sources are informational sources from the time of the event. Examples of primary sources: AutobiographiesDiariesDocumentsEyewitness accountsFilm footageLawsLettersNewspaper articlesNovelsObjects from the timeOral historiesPhotographsPoems, art, musicSpeeches Secondary Sources Secondary sources are informational sources that analyze the event. These sources often use several primary sources and compile the information. Examples of secondary sources: BiographiesEncyclopediasHistory booksTextbooks More Hints, Help, and Informational Tidbits Overview of History DayDo you have a good topic?How do you make an annotated bibliography?