Skip to Main Content

Introduction to History: Primary & Secondary Sources

Learn all about the study of history and the skills you will need to investigate the past

two women talking in the library

Source: The New York Public Library (2020)

Historical sources are very important to historians, because they provide us with the evidence, so that we can learn about different people, places and events. Evidence can come from many different sources, including interviews from people who lived at the time, letters, diaries, paintings, photos, newspapers, artefacts, buildings, clothing etc.

As historians, we can use evidence or sources to make an educated guess (a hypothesis) about what has happened. There are two types of sources: primary sources and secondary sources. Read through the resources below to learn more about the difference between these sources, how to evaluate sources and how to analyse sources.