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HEN 100 Writing and Language - Dolson

What Are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are the raw materials of history - original documents and objects which were created at the time under study- or original research (experiments, scientific studies, surveys). They are different from secondary sources, accounts, interpretations, or criticism of primary sources or historical events.

-- Adapted from the Library of Congress

Primary Source Examples in the Humanities

  • Letters and diaries
  • Historical newspaper and magazine articles (factual accounts)
  • Government documents, laws, and records
  • Interviews and oral history
  • Creative works like music, painting, and literature
  • Photographs and recordings

Primary Source Examples in the Sciences

  • Articles reporting on original research--typically in peer-reviewed and scholarly journals
  • Results of scientific experiments and clinical trials--should typically include research methodology used

Secondary sources, like biographies, histories, and criticism, analyze and interpret primary sources.

Primary Vs. Secondary Resources - Video

Scholarly vs. Popular vs. Trade Publications

How can you tell the difference between SCHOLARLY JOURNAL ARTICLES, POPULAR NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINE ARTICLES, and TRADE PUBLICATION MAGAZINES? Here is a table with some key differences.

 

SCHOLARLY

Image result for journal of education

POPULAR

Image result for time magazine

TRADE

Image result for OT practice magazine

CONTENT
  • Academic research
  • Academic reviews
  • Language is formal and can include field jargon
  • Articles are usually quite lengthy
  • Popular culture Info
  • Current events/ news
  • Language is usually more informal
  • Articles tend to be shorter
  • Industry/field news
  • Professional interest articles
  • Language is heavy on professional jargon though usually not as formal as a scholarly article
  • Articles are short
INTENDED AUDIENCE
  • Scholars
  • Researchers
  • Undergraduate/Graduate Students
  •  General public
  • Industry/Field Professionals 
REFERENCES/CITED SOURCES
  • Always listed and usually extensive
  • Scientific journals include original research info/data
  • Never (though sources are often quoted within the text)
  • Sometimes listed but not extensive research cited
AUTHOR/S
  • Scholars/Researchers  
  • Usually journalists
  • Sometimes scholars or professionals
  • Usually working professionals (teachers, therapists, etc.) 
  • Sometimes scholars within the field
REVIEW POLICY
  • "Peer-reviewed" by an editorial board of scholars in particular field
  • Editorial staff, usually made up of journalists
  • Editorial staff, usually made up of professionals
PICTURES/ADS
  • Most visuals are graphs or charts with data
  • Some will have a small picture or two but typically have none
  • Usually no or few ads
  • Frequently contain glossy ads 
  • Contain large and numerous pictures to accompany articles
  • Frequently contain advertisements and some pictures to accompany articles (though not as many as in a popular magazine or newspaper)
EXAMPLES
  • The American Journal of Psychology
  • The Journal of Asian Studies
  • Journal of Academic Librarianship
  • Occupational Therapy in Mental Health
  • Time
  • Rolling Stone
  • Scientific American
  • Consumer Reports
  • The New York Times
  • OT Practice Magazine
  • College and Research Libraries News
  • NEA (National Education Association) Today Magazine