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Primary sources in the sciences report findings from experiments or research studies. They should explain the research methodology (randomized controlled trial, etc.) used. They are frequently found in peer-reviewed (scholarly) journals.
Here are some tips for recognizing primary research documents:
- Most of them will be PDF (due to containing graphs, tables, etc.)
- Most will have more than one or two authors
- If you open the document, it will have a summary of the research (abstract), an introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and a good bibliography. Look for articles that are more than a few pages long.
Primary sources do not include meta-analyses, systematic reviews, or literature reviews. These are secondary sources.
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To find primary sources, limit your search to peer-reviewed articles.