Types of Sources


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  • Handout page
  • To make it even more confusing, a source can be a primary or a secondary source, depending on how you look at it!
  • What’s a meme?

    Sometimes the secondary sources (changes, reviews, critisisms) become more popular than the original.
  • Brainstorm: What are primary and secondary sources useful for when it comes to research? What do you have to be aware of when you use one or the other?
  • Types of Sources

    1. 1. TYPES OF PUBLICATIONS Popular publications Popular publications contain articles that we read for personal interest or leisure, not for academic study. See the “Popular Example” in the course content section.
    2. 2. TYPES OF PUBLICATIONS Trade publications Trade publications fall somewhere in the middle. These articles usually address a specific audience or industry. They are still easy to read, but special knowledge of the industry may be required to understand them. See the “Trade Publication” article in the course content.
    3. 3. TYPES OF PUBLICATIONS  Scholarly publications Scholarly articles are written and edited by experts and/or peers in a field of study and are usually required in academic research assignments. A scholarly article may also be called ‘peer-reviewed’. You can find some scholarly publications for free on the Internet, but the BEST place to find these articles is a library’s database. They tend to use technical language and require a better understanding of the topic in order to comprehend them. See the “Scholarly Article” example in the course content.
    4. 4. A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during a period of time under study. Some types of primary sources include: • ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS (excerpts or translations acceptable): diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records • CREATIVE WORKS: poetry, drama, novels, music, art , photographs • RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings Examples of primary sources include:  The Constitution of the United States  A journal article reporting NEW research or findings  Paintings and sculptures  Plato's Republic Van Gogh’s Starry Night PRIMARY SOURCE Up Next: Example of a Primary Source: Thor 2 Clip
    5. 5. A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Some types of secondary sources include: PUBLICATIONS: Textbooks, magazine articles, histories, criticisms, commentaries, encyclopedias Examples:  A journal/magazine article which interprets or reviews previous findings  A history textbook  A book about Colin Powell  An article about Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice  An analysis of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech SECONDARY SOURCE Up Next: Example of a secondary source: Thor 2 Review
    6. 6. “Memes”, or jokes that move through the internet, frequently start with a primary source like a picture, quote or video. Then, other users add, change or comment on the original, which creates a secondary source. OTHER EXAMPLES Primary Secondary Secondary
    7. 7. PROS/CONS OF PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SOURCES Primary Sources Secondary Sources Pros Cons Pros Cons Frequently give a personal perspective to an event. Information may be skewed due to bias, or personal feelings on an event. Provide context to an event or work. Were written after the fact, so information was not witnessed firsthand. Information was witnessed firsthand. May not explain the context of the event or work specifically. Provide more information that may have happened after the primary source was published. Analyzing data or past events leaves room for bias from the secondary source author. The type of information that will work the best for you will depend on the information need. Therefore, a “pro” for one source may be a “con” for another.