Primary sources are 'first-hand' materials or provide direct evidence on the topic. These are materials that were written (recorded / created) during the time period being studied or are from 'eye-witnesses'. Correspondence written by Thomas Cromwell or John Bunyan would represent 'primary' source documents. Coins, recorded radio programs and tesearch journal articles would also be considered primary sources.
Secondary sources are materials written about the subject, and are usually written after the historical event. Secondary materials tend to 'interpret' or 'analyze' primary materials and are usually at least one step removed from the primary materials. These materials would include items such as biographies, commentaries, and some journal articles.
Tertiary sources are materials of a more general nature and less focused on the subject than secondary materials. Examples of tertiary materials include encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, manuals, and bibliographies.Examples and further descriptions