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Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Sources

Source Types

To complete a research project, you will need various kinds of sources: primary sources, secondary sources, and tertiary sources. Knowing the difference between these source types will help you progress through the research process and ensure you are using sources in the correct way. This guide is intended to provide an overview of each kind of source type and some examples of each. While source types can vary depending on discipline and application, understanding general rules for how each source type is used, and how they relate to the research topic, can help you identify them and use them appropriately to support your research.