Primary Sources: Original documents, evidence, first-hand accounts, created or experienced contemporaneously with the topic being researched.
Examples: letters, diaries, student organization records, scrapbooks, photographs, maps, land records, blueprints, Greek organization records, course bulletins & catalogs, artifacts, residence hall records, oral histories, films, audio recordings, newsletters, yearbooks, and newspaper articles written during the time being researched.
Secondary Sources: Works that are not based on direct observation of or evidence directly associated with the topic being researched. Instead, they rely on primary sources for information. They typically analyze and interpret primary sources.
Examples: books, journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles, biographies.
Here are some questions to keep in mind when analyzing primary sources:
While University Archives' physical collection is currently not accessible due to COVID-19, here is some information for future reference: Archives exist both to preserve historical materials and make them available for use. A finding aid is a guide to an archival collection. It helps researchers find primary and secondary sources relevant to their research. Each finding aid provides historical or biographical context and explains how it is organized and its inclusive contents.
Northwestern University Archival and Manuscript Collections: https://findingaids.library.northwestern.edu/