Q. How do I know if this article is primary, secondary, or tertiary research?

I need to find primary research articles for my paper. My professor said to use primary research articles.

What is the difference between primary research, secondary research, and tertiary research?


Primary Research

Primary research describes a person's own, original experiment. Although a primary research article usually includes a literature review, most of the article will focus on the authors' own experiment and on the data the authors gathered themselves.

The "methods" section of the article usually helps you figure out if the article is about primary research or not.

Secondary Research

Secondary research helps you find or learn about primary research. It may be a list, such as a bibliography or an index. It may simply describe or summarize primary research, such as a review article or a clinical practice guideline.

Tertiary Research

Tertiary research synthesizes information from primary and secondary articles. It provides background information and / or makes a conclusion after analyzing the primary and secondary sources. Textbooks, encyclopedias, and drug monographs are examples of tertiary resources. 

  • Last Updated Oct 25, 2016
  • Views 64
  • Answered By Erin Wentz

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