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Guide to Library Resources: Primary vs. Secondary Sources

This guide includes information about the library, and about searching for books, ebooks, articles and databases, films, and Internet resources. Information about APA and MLA citation styles is also included.

Primary Sources

Original document; first hand information on a topic or event; original research or thought.

 

Examples:

  • Original creative works (art, music, poetry, etc.)
  • Scholarly research
  • Results of scientific experiments
  • Results of clinical trials
  • First hand account of an event
  • Government records (births, census, deaths)

Secondary Sources

Sources that analyze, evaluate, interpret, describe, or criticize original documents.

Examples:

  • Critique of creative work
  • Analysis, evaluation of research
  • Review of results of the scientific experiments
  • Analysis of results of clinical trials