Unformatted text preview: http://library.albany.edu/divs/usered/char/index.html Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources
A primary source is an original document containing firsthand information about a topic. It contains raw and original information
that is not interpreted or evaluated. In this case a report about a particular topic that includes an explanation of the research
method used by the scientist(s) would qualify as primary literature. These sources often have words such as “journal,”
proceedings,” “transactions,” “review,” “quarterly,” and so forth in their titles.
A secondary source contains commentary on or discussion about a primary source. The most important feature of secondary
sources is that they offer an interpretation of information gathered from primary sources. Typically secondary sources are
controversial for this reason. Since there may be more than one valid opinion about a topic, several secondary sources are
necessary to get a complete picture.
A tertiary source accumulates information from all of the above sources into a...
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