Different types of sources
- Primary sources:
- Direct or first-hand evidence about an event, object, person, work of music or art, etc.
- Little to no mediation or interpretation between the document and its creator
- Examples: autobiographies, letters, diaries, musical scores, works of art, speeches, recordings, photographs, articles in newspapers that describe events
- Secondary sources:
- Interpret, comment on, analyze, or process the information from primary sources in some way
- Examples: history text books, opinion or argument articles, analyses of musical compositions or literary texts
- Tertiary sources:
- Provide general or background information for quick reference
- Don't usually cite these in research papers.
- These can lead you to secondary and primary sources by looking at bibliographies or further reading section.
- Examples: encyclopedias, Wikipedia
- An exact copy of an original artifact
- Example: the newspaper articles we’ll find in databases today are facsimiles
- Peer-reviewed sources:
- One or more experts on a subject have reviewed the article before publication and made sure it meets the standards of the field.
- Some library databases allow you to limit searches to peer reviewed sources. Look for "peer review" or "scholarly" limits.
TIP: Finding and consulting a mix of different types of sources will help you to form your own ideas about your topic, which will make it easier to start writing!
Last Updated: Jun 20, 2023 4:06 PM