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Types of Academic Sources

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Tara Radniecki

on 6 February 2013

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Transcript of Types of Academic Sources

This short tutorial will introduce you to the three main types of resources used in academic research: Tertiary Sources Tertiary sources are those that compile and condense information from other sources. They are meant to give a broad, sweeping overview of a topic and are a great place to start your initial research. After using tertiary sources to do initial background research on your topic, you will then move onto primary and secondary sources. Primary Sources All academic research is based on primary sources. They provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic. Primary sources are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events of conditions being documented. Some examples of primary sources include personal papers, news footage and articles from the time of the event, speeches, material artifacts, and creative works - such as photographs, novels, essays, poetry, music, and fine art.

In the Sciences, scholarly articles are primary sources if they are written by the researcher who conducted the experiment or collected the data. In the Humanities, scholarly articles are most often secondary sources for reasons discussed next. Some tertiary sources include encyclopedias and dictionaries. Secondary Sources Secondary sources are based on primary sources and are usually studies which analyze, evaluate, interpret or criticize primary sources. Some examples of secondary sources include scholarly & popular articles, criticisms, histories, and commentaries. Whether a source is primary or secondary can depend on how you are using it. For example, a criticism of Shakespeare's Hamlet written by T.S. Eliot would be a secondary source if you were using it to write your own paper analyzing Hamlet. However, it would become a primary source if you were writing a paper on early 20th century criticisms of Shakespeare's plays. If you have any questions about types of resources used in academic research be sure to contact one of your Loyola librarians!
http://libguides.luc.edu/needhelp Ask A Librarian Types of Academic Sources Scholarly sources are written by experts in their field for other experts in that field. They are usually longer and use an academic vocabulary. They appear in scholarly journals in black and white print with no advertisements. Scholarly vs Popular Sources There are two types of secondary sources: scholarly and popular. Popular sources are usually not written by experts in the field and are intended to be read by the general population. They are shorter and use a common vocabulary. They appear in magazines that can be purchased at a wide variety of stores and often contain color pictures and advertisments. An example would be an article from the American Journal of Psychology. An example would be an article in the magazine, Psychology Today. Scholarly Sources Popular Sources Tertiary, Primary, and Secondary Sources.
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