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Computer Science: Primary Sources

Identifying Sources

  Primary Secondary
  • Are about brand new research
  • Report of results/facts/finding from an experiment or research study
  • Written by the people who did the research
  • Usually will contain a methods & materials or methodology section
  • Give the reader facts about the research NOT interpretation
  • Analyze one or more primary sources
  • Can be written in response to a primary article
  • Does NOT contain original research
  • Not written by the people who did the original research
  • Finding recent data
  • Information about a very specific topic (for example, the results of a random trial for a new AIDS drug)
  • Finding broader information on a topic (for example, a book or article about AIDS research)
  • Analysis or interpretation of current research


Types of Primary Sources (Sciences)

  • Scholarly articles that present brand new research
  • Conference papers or proceedings
  • Datasets
  • Dissertations
  • Diaries
  • Interviews
  • Lab Notebooks
  • Studies or Surveys
  • Technical Reports

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources in the sciences are written with less technical language so that they appeal to a broader audience - not just for those studying or working in the specific field.  Secondary sources are not the original source of information, and they lack the detailed description of the experiments/research found in primary sources.

Secondary sources provide:

  • Summaries of scientific work
  • Perspective
  • Facts
  • Data from other sources

Some examples of secondary sources are:

  • Review articles 
  • Books
  • Encyclopedias
  • Dictionaries
  • Handbooks
  • Newspaper Articles