Primary sources are produced by participants or direct observers of an issue, event or time period. These sources may be recorded during the event or later on, by a participant reflecting upon the event. In some cases, it will be difficult to obtain the original source, so you may have to rely on copies (photocopies, microfilm, digital copies). Copies or transcriptions of a primary source still count as a primary source.
Some examples of primary sources include:
Public opinion polls
Personal materials, including letters, diaries, interviews, memoirs, autobiographies, and oral histories
Works of art (novels, plays, paintings, etc.)
Note that in this course, original publications of novels and editions published in the 18th century are considered primary sources.
About Reference Sources
Reference sources provide background information and a general overview of a research topic, including definitions of important terms and concepts, relevant names of people or places, and dates of specific events. Reference sources in library databases are vetted, edited collections, curated and written by scholars. They include:
Bibliographies and further reading lists
Think of these resources as "scholarly Wikipedia"!