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Environmental Engineering 10 (Sullivan): Primary and Secondary Sources

Types of Sources


Examples of primary sources in the sciences:

  • Report original research, ideas, or scientific discoveries for the first time 
  • Report results/findings/data from experiments or research studies 
  • May also be referred to as primary research, primary articles, or research studies 
  • Are frequently found in peer-reviewed or scholarly journals 
  • Should explain the research methodology used (randomized controlled trial, etc) 
  • Often include methods, results, and discussion sections 
  • Are factual, not interpretive

This does not include meta-analyses, systematic reviews, or literature reviews - these are secondary sources 

Knowledge Cycle

"Section 2: Knowledge Cycle" of The Research Process gives examples of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources.

Primary Sources: Tutorials