Definition of a primary source:
Your primary sources may change depending on the focus of your research question:
Primary sources reflect their time and place:
Finding primary sources:
Individual writers and artists: acquiring a complete list of their works ("worklist") for in-depth study:
Types of primary source material besides textual:
Mindmap: Sources of a creative work
Mindmap: Useful Keywords for searching library catalogs (see "primary sources")
Tutorial (UNC-Chapel Hill): Finding Primary Source Documents
ZSR's "Databases" page: under "History," you'll find "Primary Sources."
Libraries increasingly make available digitized collections. For example, here are some of the Library of Congress' collections, containing documents, photos, sound recordings:
See also "Books" and "Web Resources" in this guide.
Research involving primary source material tends to be on a pretty focused topic: a specific historical event, a specific person's creative works, a specific place, etc. Use some such aspect of your topic in your search strategy.
Depending on your topic, you may be looking for a particular type of material: private writings such as letters and diaries, or published documentation such as newspaper articles or early reviews, or performances captured via audio, video, etc. You can refine your search strategy accordingly by using related subject terms (see mindmap "Useful Keywords" under "Resources" above) or related search limits in library catalogs and databases.