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Primary literature defined
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
Need Help? Sciences Librarian
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