Talk:Primary source

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First line of intro[edit]

Ntox has recently changed the first line of the intro. I have to say, I don't particularly like what he wrote, but it was probably no worse than what was there before and there were refs to support it. I have changed the singular to the plural which seems to me to be better English. I have also added a clarification from one of the sources to the effect that a primary source is not written with the benefit of hindsight. The problem with the current first line of the intro is it fails to get across the need for direct personal knowledge, written down at the time. An autobiography written by a politician after he or she leaves office may be the original source of a slur about another politician, but it is not a primary source. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 07:31, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Introduction[edit]

For the moment, I have reverted a deletion by Staszec Lem. The referenced source clearly says that accounts written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight are secondary (and therefore not primary). On the other hand, it is a rather clumsy sentence, so we should be able to improve it. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 06:43, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

For the moment I have moved it to later in the intro and reversed it so that it says something is a secondary source rather than something is not a primary source. :::: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rjm at sleepers (talkcontribs) 06:50, 20 July 2012
I deleted one word as the Rjm's version seemed to not quite be English.
< Generally, accounts written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight primary are secondary.
> Generally, accounts written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight are secondary.
I believe Rjm had been trying to collapse two sentences into one. The cited source has:
Generally, they are accounts written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. They are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources.
I suspect "interpretations and evaluations of primary sources" is an important part but don't see a clean way to work that in. I'd do the cleanup now the overall lead is confusing in that there at several negative logic statements. The article starts out with "Primary sources are original materials." That's fine.
Next is "Information for which the writer has no personal knowledge is not primary, although it may be used by historians in the absence of a primary source." Would people be horrified if the first part was reworded as "Information for which the writer has personal knowledge is primary" or to tighten it up "If a writer has personal knowledge of a subject then the writer is considered a primary source." I'm trying to get rid of that double "not", particularly as this is the second sentence in the article.
"Although it may be used by historians in the absence of a primary source" is an unrelated concept and should not have been in the same sentence. I'm not sure what that part is trying to say. The object "it" in that sentence is "Information for which the writer has no personal knowledge is not primary." I'm also wondering why "historians" is in that sentence. If you reworded it as "Information for which the writer has personal knowledge is primary, although it may be used in the absence of a primary source" then you can see the logic of the article is falling apart.
In summary, the lead, and much of the article needs attention. Unfortunately, the reason I arrived at this article is because it's wikilinked from Wikipedia:No original research#Primary, secondary and tertiary sources. Thus it's being used to clarify one of Wikipedia's core policies. --Marc Kupper|talk 21:08, 21 December 2012 (UTC)

Diagram[edit]

I am about to remove the diagram that was added recently. It looks like a Venn diagram and therefore implies that primary sources are a subset of secondary sources which is not true. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 10:52, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm not excited about the diagram, but I don't agree that it looks like a Venn diagram or that it implies that the inner items are subsets of the outer items. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:03, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
I am also unexcited by the diagram for other reasons. If anyone regards it as helpful, perhaps they could re-draw it with three non-overlapping circles. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 06:30, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

JSTOR[edit]

I have removed JSTOR as a repository for primary sources. There may be a few transcripts and documents that are regarded as primary in some fields, but it is almost exclusively journals and books and therefore secondary. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 08:40, 25 November 2013 (UTC)

Investigative Journalism[edit]

The Wikipedia article says - "Investigative journalism is a form of journalism in which reporters deeply investigate a single topic of interest, such as serious crimes, political corruption, or corporate wrongdoing. An investigative journalist may spend months or years researching and preparing a report."

There may be specific cases where an investigative journalist is an eyewitness or a participant, but the essence of investigative journalism is that the journalist talks to those who participated and reaches a conclusion based on many sources. It is a virtually textbook example of a secondary source. The current citation for the claim that it is a primary source says "Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented." Despite the use of the word investigation, this does not come close to saying that investigative journalism fits the definition of a primary source. In the absence of a specific citation, I propose to delete the claim. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 05:40, 27 September 2014 (UTC)

Agree. Good call. GrindtXX (talk) 12:32, 27 September 2014 (UTC)
No objection or alternative citation, so I have removed it. Rjm at sleepers (talk) 06:26, 29 September 2014 (UTC)