Welcome to the History Research Guide!
Source Types in History Research
A primary source is something that was created at the time under study. This can be a document, newspaper article, painting, speech, letter, firsthand account, etc. It also has to be about that event. For example Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech was given in 1963. In 1963 we also saw the first woman in space, a Soviet Union astronaut named Valentina Tereshkova. While that speech was given in the same time period as Valentina's space flight, they don't have all that much to do with each other.
Secondary sources are books, journal articles, newspaper articles, etc. written after the event under study. They frequently use primary sources in their research.