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Unit 1: Redefining World Society and Culture

Lesson C: Rise and Fall of the Classical and Medieval World

Activity 3: Secondary Sources

Picture of a stack of books Picture of a computer
Books and Computer [1]

In the last two activities, you learned about empires from a secondary source. The creators of this course used primary and secondary sources to create historical narratives. As a history student, you use both primary and secondary sources to understand history.

In Lesson A, you learned how to examine primary sources. Primary sources help us understand the people who lived when an event occurred. Examples of primary sources include official documents, diaries, and interviews. Artwork and literature can also help us understand the culture and time of its creations. Other primary sources include artifacts from archeological digs and other research.

Many times, we learn about history from secondary sources. Secondary sources use both primary sources and other secondary sources to create historical narratives. Examples of secondary sources include biographies, nonfiction books, and encyclopedias. Other sources, such as textbooks and most websites, are examples of secondary sources. Many of these secondary sources, such as textbooks and webpages, include primary sources, but they are still secondary sources.

To check your understanding of primary and secondary sources complete the following activity. Suppose you are researching the early Islamic empires and you are examining different source information. For each source given, drag it to either the primary source column or the secondary source column.


Page Notes:

[1] Source: These images from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nuvola_apps_bookcase.svg and
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Computer-aj_aj_ashton_01.svg are in the public domain.