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Linguistics

Finding Background Information
Use these sources to gain familiarity with your topic, narrow your research question, provide context, and identify experts.

Choosing a Topic
Taking the time to carefully choose and refine your topic can save you significant time and effort later in your research.

Primary and Secondary Sources in History

Primary sources = Evidence

  • Created during the time period or event you are studying, or produced by a participant (even if after the fact)
  • Primary sources are defined by how they are used (i.e. as evidence for interpretation of the past) rather than by what they are (i.e. format or type of material)

Secondary sources = Analysis and interpretation

  • Written by historians, scholars, and other researchers
  • Secondary sources are based on the analysis and interpretation of primary evidence and other sources

Primary and Secondary Sources in Science

Primary sources = Original Research

  • Written by the scientists(s) or researcher(s) who conducted the experiment or study
  • Should include sections detailing how the research was performed such as methodology, results, and discussion/conclusions

Secondary sources = Summarize, Review or Compare

  • Authors did not conduct the research studies which are mentioned or cited in the article themselves
  • Purpose is to summarize, review, or compare the published research on a specific topic

Primary and Secondary Sources in Social Sciences [or Subject]

Primary sources = Original Research

  • Written by the researcher(s) who performed the research study
  • Should include sections detailing how the research was performed such as methodology, data, results, and discussion/conclusions

Secondary sources = Summarize, Review or Compare

  • Authors did not conduct the research studies which are mentioned or cited in the article themselves
  • Purpose is to summarize, review, or compare the published research on a specific topic