Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

English 120 Workshop: Sources

Primary Sources

Most simply put, a primary source is original research or the first appearance of an idea or theory.  Some databases will allow you to limit to primary sources.  Some primary sources include:

  • Original Research, Such as a clinical trials or randomized controlled trials that studies a disease or a drug or treatment on a disease

  • Newspaper articles written at the time

  • Original and/or historical documents, such as letters, diaries, autobiographies, speeches , birth certificates, marriage license, patents, trial transcripts

  • Maps

  • Film footage, sound recordings, and photographs

  • Statistics

  • Works of art, artifacts, buildings, fiction, poetry, or plays 

  • Interviews and proceedings of meetings 

  • Dissertations  (can also be secondary)

Secondary Sources

Most simply put, a secondary source often interpret and comment on, or build upon primary sources.  Some databases will allow you to limit to secondary sources.  These are some examples of secondary sources:

  • Biographies
  • Journals articles that are not primary sources
  • Book reviews
  • Review articles
  • Practice Guidelines used in medicine, nursing, and psychology
  • Print bibliographies and bibliographic databases, such as Academic Search Premier, PubMed, and JSTOR (also considered tertiary)

Dissertations  (can also be primary)

Primary vs Secondary Sources

Subject Guide

Profile Photo
Robert Farrell
Contact:
Leonard Lief Library, Rm. 109
Lehman College
250 Bedford Park Blvd. West
Bronx, NY 10468
718-960-7761