- It is where the researcher published their findings first (i.e., the primary place the data is found).
- In science, it's usually a journal article outlining methodology, data, results, conclusions.
- It will always have a Literature Cited section.
- It is the researcher's own words, not summarized by anyone else.
- It is found in scholarly journals such as Animal Behaviour, Journal of Geology.
- The article will be peer-reviewed (refereed by other experts in the field before publication)
Secondary (review) articles
- Summarize primary literature articles
- Help to get a general overview of a topic
- Written by authorities in the field
- Often have the word "review" in the title (books as well as articles)
News articles (e.g., Time, New York Times, Natural History, Smithsonian)
- Not primary literature
- Might be primary source material for historical purposes however
- Help identify current issue or organizations to follow up in other sources