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Biological Issues - Orasky: Primary vs. Secondary

Primary Sources in the Sciences

Primary sources in the sciences are a little bit different than primary sources in history, humanities, or social sciences.

In the sciences, the focus is on the research. Primary sources are ones written by the scientists who performed the experiments - these articles include original research data. 

So how can you tell if a science article is a primary source?

Primary research articles will usually include sections about:

  • abstract - summarizes paper in one paragraph, states purpose of study
  • methodology - explaining how the experiment was conducted
  • results - detailing what happened and providing raw data sets (often as tables or graphs)
  • conclusions - connecting the results with theories and other research
  • references - to previous research or theories that influenced the research

Primary sources-Research article

A sample of what a primary research article might look like: 

scholarly primary research article

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources interpret and analyze the original event documented in a primary source. 

 

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