Primary Sources v. Secondary Sources
Primary sources in the sciences tend to be a little different than in other disciplines.
A primary source in the sciences is the first report of reproducible results and methods written by the scientist who conducted the research. Characteristics of primary sources in the sciences:
- Share new discoveries, original results, novel research
- Report is made by the scientist(s) who conducted the research.
- Contains sufficient information for other scientists to evaluate and reproduce results.
Note: Primary science research articles will still contain a literature review section that summarizes others’ research. This is an important part of establishing the novelty and credibility of the new research.
A secondary source in the sciences does NOT contain any new results found or produced by the author. Examples include a news report about a new discovery or an article that comprehensively reviews all research on a topic.