Some professors will tell you that they want you to use primary sources, or primary works, for your research project. What is a primary source and how is it different than a secondary source? Well, primary sources are going to look a little different depending on what subject you're researching. Essentially, a primary source is a source of original information. If that information were then analyzed, interpreted, or reviewed, then that would be a secondary source.
In history, a primary source could be something from that time period, such as a diary, newspaper article, or photograph.
In english/literature, a primary work will be one written by the author you are researching. For instance, if you are researching Jane Austen, then Pride and Prejudice or Austen's letters to her sister would be primary sources. A criticism of Pride and Prejudice would be considered a secondary source.
In the sciences, a primary source is one in which a researcher is sharing their findings. For example, if "Scientist A" were to conduct an experiment and write an article describing the results, then that would be a primary work. If "Scientist B" analyzed these results for another article, then that would be a secondary work. Primary sources in the sciences will often have an abstract, methodology, results, and conclusions.
Many professors will ask you to use scholarly sources for your research project. What is a scholarly source? A scholarly source may also be referred to as a peer-reviewed source. It is written by experts, for experts. They are reviewed by several experts before publishing. The opposite of a scholarly source is a popular source. It is something that is written using language the general public can understand. Examples of popular sources include magazines and news websites.
So how do you find a scholarly source? Most of our databases have the option of limiting your results to peer-reviewed sources. Make sure the box is checked to limit your results.