The tutorials and guides on these pages are here to help you make the most of our library's databases and subscriptions while you are working on your assignments for NS532 and beyond.
This term refers to a method of vetting articles or other materials most commonly for inclusion in a journal.
It involves having colleagues who are knowledgeable in a discipline examine articles before they are published, and it is a way to help verify that the research an article presents is sound and its conclusions logical.
Background Information & Lecture Visuals
In the health and social sciences, most often a primary source is a report of the results of an experiment or research study. The most common source format these take are published articles found in scholarly journals or conference papers.
Why Choose Primary Sources
Primary Sources represent the best evidence to support an argument. When you examine a primary source, you get to see all of the relevant information about the study as well as the authors' interpretation of the results of that study. You can then come to your own conclusions about the significance, relevance, and meaning of those results as they apply to your topics of interest. If instead you rely on the interpretations of another author, say from a literature review or other secondary source, you can run into trouble, because their point of view might cloud their interpretations and could lead you astray. Therefore, when you can, you will want to select primary sources to cite in your papers and other academic work.
Identifying Primary Sources
However, not everything published in a scholarly journal or presented at a conference will be a primary source. Here are some things to look for.
- Details about the experiment/study
Look for a methods section with details about study participants, instruments, and procedures.
- Details about the results
Look for raw and analysed data gathered during the study. Frequently these numbers will be displayed in charts or graphs.
- Don't be fooled by literature reviews where authors talk about other peoples' research.