Skip to Main Content

Biological Science: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary Sources

Research guide for biology

Primary, Secondary, Tertiary Sources

Primary sources Secondary sources Tertiary sources
  • Articles
  • Conference proceedings
  • Interviews
  • Lab notebooks
  • Patents
  • Preprints
  • Technical reports
  • Theses and dissertations
  • Review papers
  • Systematic reviews
  • Monographs (Books)
  • Textbooks
  • Treatises
  • Article indexes/ databases
  • Encyclopedias / Almanacs
  • Dictionaries
  • Handbooks
  • Compilations
  • Fact books
  • Tables
These are where the results of original research become first published.                          

These tend to be summaries of existing work at the time of publication.

Good for background and overview of a research field, theories, and ideas.

These are condensed information like a paragraph of the research.

They reference primary and/or
secondary sources.

These seldom contain original materials but good for looking up data.

Primary, Secondary, Tertiary Sources