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HWST 603: Review of Hawaiian Literature

This LibGuide was created for the HWST 603 course. Resources in this guide focus on annotated bibliographies, literature reviews, and primary and secondary sources.

Primary + Secondary Sources

What is a primary source?

Primary sources are original materials on which other research is based.  They are from the time period involved andhave not been filtered through interpretation or evaluation. They are usually the first formal appearance of results in physical, print or electronic format. They present original thinking, report a discovery, or share new information.

Examples of primary sources:

  • Literary creations: novels, short stories, poems, etc. 
  • Artifacts (e.g. coins, plant specimens, fossils, furniture, tools, clothing, all from the time under study)
  • Audio recordings (e.g. radio programs)
  • Diaries
  • Internet communications on email, listservs
  • Interviews (e.g., oral histories, telephone, e-mail)
  • Journal articles published in peer-reviewed publications
  • Letters
  • Newspaper articles written at the time
  • Original Documents (i.e. birth certificate, will, marriage license, trial transcript)
  • Patents
  • Photographs
  • Proceedings of Meetings, conferences and symposia
  • Records of organizations, government agencies (e.g. annual report, treaty, constitution, government document)
  • Speeches
  • Survey Research (e.g., market surveys, public opinion polls)
  • Video recordings (e.g. television programs)
  • Works of art, architecture, literature, and music (e.g., paintings, sculptures, musical scores, buildings, novels, poems)
  • Web site

From Yale University Library

What is a secondary source?

Secondary sources are less easily defined than primary sources.  Generally, they are accounts written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.  They are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources.  Secondary sources are not evidence, but rather commentary on and discussion of evidence.  However, what some define as a secondary source, others define as a tertiary source. Context is everything.

Examples of secondary sources?

  • Bibliographies (also considered tertiary);
  • Biographical works;
  • Commentaries, criticisms;
  • Dictionaries, Encyclopedias (also considered tertiary);
  • Histories;
  • Literary criticism such as Journal articles;
  • Magazine and newspaper articles;
  • Monographs, other than fiction and autobiography;
  • Textbooks (also considered tertiary);
  • Web site (also considered primary).

From Yale University Library