Artifact Reading Method
Creator: Who wrote the document or made the artifact?
Context: Where and when was it created?
Audience: For whom was it made?
Purpose: What was the intended use of the document or object?
Historical Significance: How does this object affect our understanding of history?
Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience.
-- Library of Congress
Primary Source Examples in the Humanities
Primary Source Examples in the Sciences
Secondary sources, like biographies, histories, and criticism, analyze and interpret primary sources.