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BSC 3930 - Professor Margolin: Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

Original documents, first hand information on a topic, event, person, work of art (original research or thought).


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

Secondary Sources

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


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