Answered By: Jessica Howard
Last Updated: Sep 05, 2018     Views: 3

Different academic disciplines have different definitions of what constitutes a primary source.  The Humanities and Social Sciences generally define primary sources as materials produced at the time of an event, or by a person being studied or significantly involved with the event. In literature specifically, a “primary source” or a “primary text,” generally means the literary work that is being read/studied/analyzed.  

A primary source in the sciences is usually a report on the results of an experiment by the person or group who performed it. They are usually published as scientific articles. 

For more information and to search databases for primary sources, see our Primary Sources guide: