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BIZ 1301: Principles of Public Relations

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources Research Guide

Examples of Primary and Secondary Sources

Examples of Primary Sources Examples of Secondary Sources
Original research articles published in scholarly,
peer-reviewed journals

Scholarly articles which critique original research articles

Interviews and surveys Review articles from scholarly journals
Correspondence, including Letters

Book or movie reviews

Diaries Dictionaries (can also be a tertiary source)
Court Cases Directories (can also be a tertiary source)
Government Documents Encyclopedias (can also be a tertiary source)
Laws and Legislation Handbooks (can also be a tertiary source)
Speeches Textbooks (can also be a tertiary source)

Secondary Sources

Secondary data lets you build on existing research.  

Secondary Sources include books, magazines, journals and newspapers which contain articles discussing various laws, regulations and various related issues. Why use them? Secondary Sources often:

  • Are the best place to start your research
  • Provide terminology
  • Are easier to find
  • Give a feel or overview of the event or issue, and often supply dates, names and other background information, such as the names and citations of statutes and court cases
  • May refer to related subjects or issues
  • Are more readable than many primary sources
  • Digest or synthesize the information found in primary sources

 Find Secondary Sources using the following suggestions: (others may also work, too)

  • Business Sources Complete
  • Communication and Mass Media Complete
  • Newspaper sites and newspaper databases
  • SearchONU

Business Source Complete and Communication and Mass Media Complete are examples of journal databases, and will provide access to both popular press and scholarly journal articles. To view only scholarly articles in these databases, be sure to select the “Scholarly/Peer Reviewed Journals” limiter on the search page.