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Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Sources: Primary & Secondary Sources for the Sciences

What are primary sources for science research?

Primary sources in the sciences are those created by original research conducted by scientists, usually published in scholarly and peer-reviewed journals, that result in the collection of data.  Data itself whether collected through research or through a government body is also a primary source.  Some features of these journal articles include:

  • participants/patients
  • materials
  • methods and procedures
  • results and conclusion


Where to Find Primary Sources?

What are secondary sources for science research?

Secondary sources for the sciences are those that review and analyze research or summarize a topic.  Review articles will look at research done in a field and present their own conclusions about what this research means.  Some simply summarize a condition or topic.

Examples include:

  • Scholarly and Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles written by scientists classified as
    • Review Articles
    • Systematic Reviews
    • Meta-Analyses
  • Government publications or reports
  • Textbooks
  • Books
  • Guidelines and Standards
  • Newspapers and Magazines written by journalists

Where to Find Secondary Sources?


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