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What is Primary Literature?
- It is where the researcher published their findings first (i.e., the primary place the data is found).
- In science, it's usually a journal article outlining methodology, data, results, conclusions.
- It will always have a Literature Cited section.
- It is the researcher's own words, not summarized by anyone else.
- It is found in scholarly journals such as Animal Behaviour, Journal of Chemical Physics.
Secondary (review) articles summarize other people's primary literature articles. These are a good place to start to understand a topic however. Examples are the Annual Reviews series, many books in the sciences, or any article that has the word "review" in the title.
Newspaper articles, Newsweek, etc. are NOT primary literature. News articles however help identify current issues or organizations that can be followed up in other sources.
Natural History and Smithsonian are popular literature, not peer-reviewed, and are partly review and partly news, and scientific in scope.
Use the Library Databases listed above to find primary literature!
What is the Difference?
The articles below deal with the topics related to medical anthropology. Follow the links to the full text of the articles and answer the questions below.
Questions for Discussion
How do the articles differ? (Remember to consider criteria such as methodology, results, and conclusion.)
Which articles are primary literature and which are secondary literature?