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Tarleton State University Libraries Unit 3
USING PRIMARY/SECONDARY SOURCES
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image of documents   In addition to deciding which types of information sources will offer the kinds of material you need, another point to consider is whether you will need primary sources, secondary sources, or a mixture of both.

•  Primary sources are works that contain original material. Examples of primary sources include case studies, first-hand accounts of events, original research reports, experiments, interviews, speeches, surveys, letters, diaries, etc.
   
•  Secondary sources are works that analyze and interpret primary sources. Secondary sources are often published long after the primary sources they address. Examples of secondary sources include articles in periodicals, textbooks, and most conference papers.

Once you identify your information need, you will be able to determine if primary or secondary sources (or both) would yield appropriate information for your research.

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Updated 7/2004