Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Use of Sources : Primary sources and written sources

In scholarly writing, the objective of classifying sources is to determine the independence and reliability of sources Though the terms primary source and secondary source originated in historiography as a way to trace the history of historical ideas, they have been applied to many other fields.

For example, these ideas may be used to trace the history of scientific theories, literary elements, and other information that is passed from one author to another.

Science In scientific literature, a primary source is the original publication of a scientist's new data, results, and theories.

Political History: In political history, primary sources are documents such as official reports, speeches, pamphlets, posters, or letters by participants, official election returns, and eyewitness accounts.

Intellectual History: In the history of ideas or intellectual history, the main primary sources are books, essays and letters written by intellectuals.

Cultural History: A study of cultural history could include fictional sources such as novels or plays.

Broader sense: In a broader sense primary sources also include physical objects like photographs, newsreels, coins, paintings or buildings created at the time. Historians may also take archaeological artifacts and oral reports and interviews into consideration.

Written sources:

Written sources may be divided into three main types.

1) Narrative sources or literary sources: They tell a story or message. They are not limited to fictional sources (which can be sources of information for contemporary attitudes), but include diaries, films, biographies, leading philosophical works, scientific works, and so on.

2) Diplomatic sources : They include charters and other legal documents which usually follow a set format.

3) Social documents : These are records created by organizations, such as registers of births, tax records, and so on.

In the study of historiography, when the study of history is itself subject to historical scrutiny, a secondary source becomes a primary source.

For a biography of a historian, that historian's publications would be primary sources. Documentary films can be considered a secondary source or primary source, depending on how much the filmmaker modifies the original sources.[

The Lafayette College Library, for example, provides the following synopsis of primary sources in several basic areas of study:

"The definition of a primary source varies depending upon the academic discipline and the context in which it is used.

In the humanities, a primary source could be defined as something that was created either during the time period being studied or afterward by individuals reflecting on their involvement in the events of that time.

In the social sciences, the definition of a primary source would be expanded to include numerical data that has been gathered to analyze relationships between people, events, and their environment.

In the natural sciences, a primary source could be defined as a report of original findings or ideas. These sources often appear in the form of research articles with sections on methods and results."

No comments: