can I use primary sources in my research?
Primary sources are
invaluable tools for understanding how and why events happened. It is
essential to evaluate the source, however, and understand the motive
behind its creation and how it can alter the value of the informational
to ask should include:
were the opinions, motivations, or interests of the creator?
How does his or her point of view compare to other writers of the
period? What kind of impact
would this have on the content of the source?
created the source and why?
sorts of information does the source supply?
what circumstances was the source created?
How would this influence the content of the source?
whom was the source created?
the source meant to be public or private?
the creator wish to inform, persuade, or deceive his or her audience?
What did the creator hope to accomplish by writing the source?
Can you trust the source's content at face value?
Comments: Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Head,
Special Collections Department
Copyright © 2001, Iowa State University. All rights reserved.
Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library