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Drama Tutorials: Primary and Secondary Sources


Welcome to "Primary and Secondary Sources".

In this tutorial, you will explore the difference between primary and secondary sources and see how these apply to theatre research in particular. In each tutorial, the example used will be August Strindberg's play Miss Julie.  We use MLA style for our citations.

On this page, you will find:

1. a quick poll to test your knowledge;

2. a video;

3. a tutorial;

4. a quiz;and

5. a final "try it" task.


How much do you know about primary and secondary sources?

Try to answer the following question before you watch the video and complete the tutorial. You will see the correct answer when you encounter this question again in the quiz.

Question: If I am writing an essay on the original performance of Miss Julie, which of the following sources would be considered primary? (Click on each underlined answer to see an example of that source.)

Photo images of the original production: 270 votes (79.41%)
A scholarly article about the play: 5 votes (1.47%)
A book about the play: 14 votes (4.12%)
Both the book and the article: 21 votes (6.18%)
Both the images and the article: 30 votes (8.82%)
Total Votes: 340

Primary and Secondary Sources

Tutorial - Primary and Secondary Sources for Theatre Research


Try It!

Here are two examples of materials that contain more than one type of source (just like the book that contained a photograph in the tutorial).

Click on the links below, and then see if you can answer the following questions about each item:

  • What parts/aspects of this source are primary, and what parts are secondary? 
  • Do you think it might contain any reference sources as well?  What might those be?