In the sciences primary sources are original research or data. Primary sources can include any of the following publications
Primary sources are a researchers firsthand account of their research. They provide an in depth view into how the research was conducted, and may contain supplemental materials like questionnaires used. A summary of a study or experiment in a book or review paper may not discuss all the findings, and you can gain more insight into a particular topic or issue by looking at the primary sources.
Resources for finding primary sources include:
In the sciences secondary sources analyze, interpret, summarize, or evaluate the findings of primary sources. Secondary sources can include any of the following publications:
Secondary sources can save you time by providing information on the current state of knowledge on a given topic, and also as a way to find primary resources. If you are interested to know what are important, seminal papers in on a topic look at what papers are cited in a textbook on that topic. Review papers can give you in-depth information on a particular research area. Secondary resources are also often less technical than primary resources.
Resources for finding secondary sources
In the sciences tertiary resources are synthesized from primary and secondary resources. They usually provide summaries on the current state of knowledge. Tertiary sources can include the following publications:
Tertiary sources can be viewed as a jumping off point for your own research. They provide succinct summaries on topics, and can be a good way to familiarize yourself with the terminology on a topic before you begin searching the databases.
Resources for finding tertiary sources include: