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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

  • Scholarly articles that present brand new research
  • Conference papers or proceedings
  • Datasets
  • Maps, Satellite Images
  • Dissertations
  • Photos, Artifacts
  • Interviews, Field Observations
  • Technical Reports

Types of Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are not the original source of information, and they lack the detailed description of the experiments/research found in primary sources.

Some examples of secondary sources are:

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