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Online Guide to Writing and Research

The Research Process

Research Resources

What Are Research Resources?

Research resources are usually thought of as primary sources and secondary sources. Click on the tabs to learn more about both.

Primary sources can be firsthand accounts of actual events written by an eyewitness or original literary or artistic works. They may be letters, official records, interviews, survey results, or unanalyzed statistical data. These sources contain raw data and information, such as the original work of art or immediate impressions. 

Secondary sources, on the other hand, are usually discussions, evaluations, syntheses, and analyses of primary and secondary source information.  

Take Note

You will no doubt use both primary and secondary sources throughout your academic career. When you use them, and in what combination, usually depends on what you are researching and the discipline for which you are writing. If you are unclear about which sources to use, ask your professor for guidance.


Types of Research

Your research question and the kind of research you do will guide the types of resources you will need to complete your research. Students’ access to information is greater than ever before. To be a good researcher, you must be able to locate, organize, evaluate, and communicate information.

Key Takeaways

  • Primary sources include firsthand accounts, raw data, and other original material.

  • Secondary sources include material that interprets and analyzes primary sources.

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