Secondary Literature Review

Peer-review is not a process for detecting fraud but a way of ensuring that scientists are reading quality work from other researchers.

Publication of a scientist’s results is known as primary literature.

In general, most primary literature follows a pattern containing an abstract, the authors’ names and affiliations, an introduction, a methods/materials section, results, discussion, conclusion and reference list.

Examples of secondary sources include reviews, monographs, books, treatises, and manuals.

Primary resources are usually vetted through other researchers who are familiar with the topic. This lends credence and authority to a publication.

The Mc Quade Library has many online periodical databases which contain scholarly journal articles.

Databases such as EBSCOhost and INFOTRAC allow you to limit your search to peer reviewed or refereed journals.They are extremely useful in providing a broad overview of a field and usually provide more background information and less technical methodology.Secondary literature usually has no abstract and the data, figures or images are taken from other sources.Examples of primary sources: Theses, dissertations, scholarly journal articles (research based), some government reports, symposia and conference proceedings, original artwork, poems, photographs, speeches, letters, memos, personal narratives, diaries, interviews, autobiographies, and correspondence.These sources offer an analysis or restatement of primary sources.Examples of primary sources include journal papers, conference papers, technical reports and thesis and dissertations.When scientists integrate, condense or summarize results from primary literature into review articles or books, this represents secondary literature.This guide lists criteria to help you identify scholarly journals, trade journals, and magazines.It is the first step in critically evaluating your source of information.Examples of Tertiary Sources: Dictionaries/encyclopedias (may also be secondary), almanacs, fact books, Wikipedia, bibliographies (may also be secondary), directories, guidebooks, manuals, handbooks, and textbooks (may be secondary), indexing and abstracting sources.Scientists advance scientific knowledge through the publication their original research results.


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