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Primary and Secondary Sources for Science

Primary and Secondary Sources for Science

In the Sciences, primary sources are documents that provide full description of the original research. For example, a primary source would be a journal article where scientists describe their research on the human immune system. A secondary source would be an article commenting or analyzing the scientists' research on the human immune system.

Examples of Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary and Secondary Source Examples
Primary Source Secondary Source
Conference Papers Criticism and interpretation
Correspondence Dictionaries
Dissertations Directories
Diaries Encyclopedias
Interviews Government Policy
Lab Notebooks

Law and Legislation

Notes Monographs
Patents Moral and Ethical Aspects
Studies or Surveys Public Opinion
Technical Reports Reviews
Theses Social Policy


Source: The Evolution of Scientific Information (from Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, vol. 26).