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COMP 5300 - Research Methods and Graduate Seminar: Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

       The difference between primary and secondary sources is quite simple. It deals with the level of analytics that separates the source from the initial raw data. Secondary sources are what most students use for research projects. These sources include:

  • journal articles
  • textbooks
  • dictionaries
  • political commentary
  • dissertations
  • news articles

Primary sources are sources that don't divulge any analysis. These sources include:

  • diaries
  • correspondence
  • original documents
  • autobiographies
  • interviews
  • legislation
  • government documents
  • statistical data
  • creative works

For example, creating a survey for an analysis that you're conducting would be a primary source, however the article you publish with this analysis is a secondary source for those citing it.

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