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Adventist Heritage Summer 2021: Home

This page rounds up primary sources we will use in RELH/HIST 360: Adventist Heritage (Summer 2021).

How to Use this Page

This is the landing page for RELH/HIST 360 where we will share links for activities, useful tips, and more. To get started on an activity, select from the tabs at the top of the page and follow the instructions given there and/or in class. Any questions? Just ask! 

Facts about Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Primary sources are materials that are eyewitness accounts or as close to the original source as possible.

Qualitative data:

  • What people say.
    They are usually speeches, interviews, and conversations, and they may be captured in videos, audio recordings, or transcribed into text.
  • What people write. 
    These include autobiographies, memoirs, personal journals and diaries, letters, emails, blogs, twitter feeds and other forms of social media.
  • Images and Videos.
  • Maps.
  • Government documents--U.S. and rest of the world.
  • Laws, court cases and decisions, treaties.
  • Newspapers.

Quantitative data:

  • Statistics and data.
  • Polls and public opinions.

Please note that a book is simply a format.  You can find both primary and secondary sources published in book form. 

Secondary sources are interpretations and analyses based on primary sources.

For example, an autobiography is a primary source while a biography is a secondary source.

Often secondary and primary sources are relative concepts.  Typical secondary sources may be primary sources depending on the research topic.

  1. Intellectual history topics.
    For example, although scholarly journal articles are usually considered secondary sources, if one's topic is the history of human rights, then journal articles on human rights will be primary sources in this instance.  Similarly, research on the thinking of a scholar will include her published journal articles as primary sources.
  2. Historical topics.
    Magazine articles are secondary sources, but for someone researching the view of judicial punishment in the 1920s, magazines from that time period are primary sources.  Indeed, any older publication, such as those prior to the 20th century, is very often automatically considered a primary source.
  3. Newspapers may be either primary or secondary.
    Most articles in newspapers are secondary, but reporters may be considered as witnesses to an event.  Any topic on the media coverage of an event or phenomenon would treat newspapers as a primary source.  There are so many articles and types of articles in newspapers that newspapers can often be considered either primary or secondary.

Special thanks to the American University library for this set of guidelines. For more, please visit