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Kinesiology & Health Education Research

Primary vs Secondary Sources

Primary or Secondary?

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.

Exp: Farley, S. M., Seoh, H., Sacks, R., & Johns, M. (2014). Teen use of flavored tobacco products in New York City. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 16(11), 1518-1521. doi:10.1093/ntr/ntu126


Secondary Sources

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

Exp: Forsyth, S. R., Kennedy, C., & Malone, R. E. (2013). The effect of the Internet on teen and young adult tobacco use: A literature review. Journal Of Pediatric Health Care, 27(5), 367-376. doi:10.1016/j.pedhc.2012.02.008

PR Newswire. (2016, October 11). Major E-cigarette Study Finds Strong Association between Teen Vaping and Smoking. PR Newswire US.


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

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