Primary, Seconday, & Tertiary Sources

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Primary, Seconday, & Tertiary Sources

  1. 1. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduPrimary and Secondary SourcesHow to Recognize and Use Them
  2. 2. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduWhat are Primary Sources?A primary source (also called original source or evidence)is an artifact, a document, a recording, or other source ofinformation that was created at the time under study. Itserves as an original source of information about thetopic.
  3. 3. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduWhat does that mean?Think of a primary source as the first version ofsomething. An eyewitness testimony, a songwriter’sperformance of his or her song, or a painted canvas areexamples of primary sources.? ? ?
  4. 4. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduOther Primary Sources Include:works of art
  5. 5. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduWhat are Secondary Sources?A secondary source is material that relates or discussesinformation originally presented elsewhere. Secondarysources involve generalization, analysis, synthesis,interpretation, or evaluation of the original information
  6. 6. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduWhat does that mean?Think of a secondary source as the copied or “remixed”version of something. A description of a sculpture, acover song, or a summary of an experiment can all beexamples of secondary sources.? ? ?
  7. 7. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduOther Secondary Sources Include:Book reviews
  8. 8. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduWhat are Tertiary Sources?Tertiary sources are indexes or textual condensations ofprimary and secondary sources. Tertiary sources attemptto summarize and consolidate the source materials intoan overview, but may also present subjectivecommentary and analysis (which are characteristics of asecondary source).
  9. 9. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduWhat does that mean?Think of tertiary sources as condensed versions ofinformation. This is where you get the bare essentials.Reference books like almanacs or user manuals would betypical examples.
  10. 10. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduOther Tertiary Sources Include:encyclopedias
  11. 11. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduRememberPrimary, secondary, and tertiary are relative terms,and some sources may be classified as primary,secondary, and tertiary depending on how it is used.???
  12. 12. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduFor ExampleThe Greeks: A Great Adventure is a history bookwritten by science-fiction author Issac Asimov.As a history book, itis considered asecondary sourceBut if you weredoing research onthe works of Asimov,you would considerit a primary source.
  13. 13. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduWhat do YOU think?Would you consider the following examplesa primary, secondary, or tertiary source?Why? Remember, there may be more thanone correct answer.
  14. 14. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduWhat do YOU think?A Dictionary of the English Language by the famousauthor, Samuel Johnson.• Primary? – a source for a researchpaper on Samuel Johnson.• Tertiary? – dictionaries are usuallyconsidered tertiary sources becausethey gather and condense information.• What other arguments (if any) can bemade?
  15. 15. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduWhat do YOU think?The song “Stronger” by Kanye West, which uses asample by the music duo, Daft Punk.I’m gonna letyou finish yourslide, but…• Primary? – who wrote the lyrics? Themusic?• Secondary? – music samples from othersongs are rarely original to the artist usingthem.• What other arguments (if any) can bemade?
  16. 16. Brenda AlmeydaCoordinator, Library Services-NCRC704-216-7141 | Brenda.Almeyda@rccc.eduAny Questions?Reference Assistance:(704) 216-3680 (North)(704) 216-3683 (South)(704) 216-7140 (NCRC)(704) 216-3539 (CBTC)(704) 216-3714 (COS)

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