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Why is it important for a historian to use primary sources?

Samantha Barber

in Studying

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Rodney Fox on August 5, 2018

The primary sources that are thoughtfully selected can help to bring history and cultures to the lives of students. Basically, it is defined as the direct evidence of a time and place that you are studying - any material (documents, objects, etc) that was produced by eyewitnesses to or participants in an event or historical moment under investigation. The primary sources are interesting to read by themselves: they give us first-hand, you-are-there insights into the past. They are also the most important tools an historian has for developing an understanding of an event. Primary sources serve as the evidence an historian uses in developing an interpretation and in building an argument in support of that interpretation. You will be the use of primary sources, not only to help you better understand what happened, but also as evidence to answer the questions, and develop arguments about the past. The primary Sources do not speak for themselves, they have to be interpreted. That is to say, we can't always immediately understand what a primary source means, especially if it comes from a culture significantly different from our own. Therefore, it is necessary to try to understand what that means and find out what the source can tell us about the past.


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