Primary sources in the sciences differ from primary sources in other fields. In the humanities or social sciences primary sources typically include historical records and first-hand accounts of events (diaries, interviews, recordings, etc.), while primary sources in the sciences refer to those sources reporting original research.
Primary sources in the sciences have the following characteristics...
- Report original research, ideas, or scientific discoveries for the first time
- Report results/findings/data from experiments or research studies
- Are frequently found in peer-reviewed or scholarly journals
- Should explain the research methodology used (randomized controlled trial, etc)
- Frequently include methods, results, and discussion sections
- Are factual, not interpretive
Examples of these sources include...
- Research studies or scientific experiments
- Papers and proceedings from scientific conferences or meetings
- Dissertations and Theses
- Technical Reports
Secondary sources in the sciences may include books or articles commenting or analyzing the results of original research. Examples of secondary sources in the sciences include the following...
- Book reviews
- Review articles / reviews of current literature on a specific area of research
- Analyses of clinical trials
- Letters to the editor, opinion pieces, etc.
Adapted libguides provided by Michigan State University Libraries and SUNY Albany Libraries.