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How to Find Articles: Source Types


Basically, there are three types of information sources:

  1. Primary Sources: Original materials on which other research is based
    • Original written works, such as poems, diaries, court records, interviews, surveys, and original research/fieldwork
    • Research published in scholarly/academic journals
  2. Secondary Sources: Describe or analyze primary sources
    • Reference materials, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks
    • Books and articles that interpret, review, or synthesize original research/fieldwork
  3. Tertiary Sources: Used to organize and locate secondary and primary sources
    • Indexes provide citations that fully identify a work with information such as author, titles of a book, article and/or journal, publisher and publication date, volume and issue number and page numbers
    • Abstracts summarize the primary or secondary sources
    • Databases are online indexes that usually include abstracts for each primary or secondary resource, and may also include a digital copy of the resource.

~ Mary Woodley, SCUN Oviat Library