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Primary Sources


Primary source articles have these qualities: 

  • Report original research, ideas, an/or first-time scientific discoveries
  • Report experiments or research findings, results, and/or data
  • Referred to as primary research, primary articles, primary literature, or research studies
  • Appear in peer-reviewed or scholarly journals
  • Include the research methodology, e.g. primary research relies on direct data collection
  • Include methods, results, and discussion sections
  • Are factual instead of interpretive and don't replicate other studies

Secondary source articles have these qualities: 

  • Report the significance of research or experiments
  • Review the results of several experiments or trials
  • Include meta-analyses, systematic reviews, or literature reviews
  • Analysis of clinical trials
  • Non articles, e.g. letters to the editor, editorials, etc.

Tertiary sources have these qualities: 

  • Combine both primary and secondary source material
  • Provide context or background information on a topic
  • Examples typically are encyclopedias, dictionaries, textbooks, etc.

Where to Find Primary and Secondary Source Articles

Typical tools that we use for research can provide us with primary sources: discovery products (e.g. ONESEARCH), databases (original research will be combined with secondary source research), & the Web.

Last Updated: Jul 24, 2024 2:57 PM