When you're searching for resources you might come across several different types. You'll find Journal Articles, Conference Proceedings, Book Chapters and more, oh my!
These different publications can also be Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary. This guide will help you better understand what you're reading.
In science, Primary Sources were written by the people who collected the data and observations they're describing.
These authors wrote about experiments OTHER scientists did.
General resources with the most up to date accepted theories and information. Most often encyclopedias and handbooks.
Look at the article record! It will often say if what you're reading is a book chapter or journal article.
Look at the title page. Does it say it say it was published by a journal? Or a part of a book? Maybe there's the name of a conference it was presented at.
Look for a Methods section! If the Methods describe how they completed an experiment, it's likely a primary source. If the Methods describe why they selected certain articles for review, it's probably secondary.
Look at the Types of Resources chart. Once you know if something is Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary, it can be easier to identify if what type of publication it was and vice versa!
[Header] Types of Scientific Resources
Peer reviewed scientific research articles
Published Conference Proceedings
Author Self-Archived Research
Non-Scholarly Publications (e.g. magazines)
Single Author Books
University of Maine Fogler Library
Why do you need to know what kind of information you're looking at?