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Research Methods Simplified

Primary Research and Resources

Primary Research in Various Disciplines  


Sciences: primary source is the first report of research located in journal articles, research reports, conference proceedings, book chapters or books.

Social Sciences: (anthropology, ethnography, psychology, sociology or social work)---a primary source may be the first report of research, especially of empirical studies, or it may resemble primary sources in history, since some areas of these fields depend on direct observation, personal narratives or commentary, as from interviews or case studies.

History: may include letters, diaries, speeches, lectures, documents, manuscripts or individual legislation, personal narratives or commentary, interviews and case studies.   

Arts: a piece of art (painting or sculpture), musical score, poem, book or chapter, essay, etc., if it is created by the artist, writer, photographer, etc.


Secondary Resources

A secondary source synthesizes information gathered from other sources including books, book chapters and articles. Textbooks and review articles are examples of secondary sources.

Teriary Resouces

A tertiary source is a resource or tool that aids in locating primary or secondary sources. Examples include bibliographies, databases and indexes, library catalogs, literature or reference citations.