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Library Resources: Primary Sources: Science

Finding primary sources for history, science, literature, etc.


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.