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Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Primary Sources

A primary source provides direct or firsthand evidence about an event, object, person, or work of art. In the natural and social sciences, primary sources are often empirical studies—research where an experiment was performed or a direct observation was made. The results of empirical studies are typically found in scholarly articles or papers delivered at conferences.


Secondary Sources

Secondary sources describe, discuss, interpret, comment upon, analyze, evaluate, summarize, and process primary sources. Secondary source materials can be articles in newspapers or popular magazines, book or movie reviews, or articles found in scholarly journals that discuss or evaluate someone else's original research.


Learn more here: Primary and Secondary Sources, Ithaca College Library

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