Skip to main content

_NURS 4265: Nursing Past as Prologue — Historical Sources

Specific resources for NURS 4265 Nursing Past as Prologue

Types of Historical Sources in Nursing

PRIMARY sources are original materials on which other research is based.  They are from the time period involved and have not been filtered through interpretation or evaluation.  It is the original report or publication of firsthand observations.

Examples may include:

  • Artifacts (e.g. nursing pins, nursing clothing or shoes)
  • Audio recordings or Video recordings
  • Interviews or Oral histories
  • Diaries
  • Letters
  • Newspaper articles written at the time
  • Journal articles (can either be primary or secondary)
  • Photographs
  • Speeches
  • Conference proceedings
  • Records of organizations, schools (e.g. annual report)

SECONDARY sources are generally written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.  They are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources (topic that has already been written about) by people not directly involved in an event.   Secondary sources are not evidence, but rather a commentary on and discussion of evidence.

Examples may include:

  • Newspaper accounts or textbooks from the period under study are secondary sources.
  • Book reviews
  • Review articles
  • Biographies

TERTIARY sources gather a collection of previously published works, edit, and reprint their content in one body.  A distillation and collection of primary and secondary sources.

Examples may include:

  • Almanacs
  • Dictionaries
  • Fact books
  • Indexes
  • Tertiary sources gather a collection of previously published works, edit, and reprint their content in one body.

 Credit is given to Yale University Library