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Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary?
Another way to categorize information is whether it is primary, secondary or tertiary. In many classes you will be asked to use primary sources for assignments.
A Primary source of information is first-person, original information.
- a journal or diary
- original research
- original work of art
- government document
- research article from a variety of databases and web sites
A Secondary source of information is material that has been taken from primary sources and then synthesized.
- college textbook
- historical study
- journal or magazine article that reviews original works
A Tertiary source of information consists of secondary sources, such as books and articles that have been gathered together in an index or database.
- Cuesta Library Search, which gathers the books, videos, and more available in the library
- online database, which indexes articles from numerous journals