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Primary Sources

This guide will provide more information about finding primary sources appropriate for your discipline and area of research.

Science & Engineering

Primary sources in the Sciences are much different than in the humanities or arts. In the Sciences, primary sources are the original materials or information that report research, data, ideas, or discoveries for the first time. Primary sources can also be referred to as primary literature, primary articles, or research studies. The main way to determine if something is a primary source is if it is factual, and not interpretive. Particularly important for the sciences is that the material explains the research methodology - for example, if it has a "Materials and Methods" section.


Examples of scientific primary sources can be:

  • Technical reports
  • Conference papers or proceedings
  • Dissertations
  • Interviews
  • Laboratory notebooks
  • Patents
  • A study or survey in a journal article


For more research assistance, see the Science guides.