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Primary and Secondary Scientific Sources: Choosing the Appropriate Resources

Evaluating Resources

When you gather research, you are trying to answer two questions. First, are you looking in the right place for the type of information you need? Second, does the information you found contribute to your overall knowledge of your topic?

Finding the Primary Sources

There are quite a number of databases offered by the UT Arlington Library which are a mix of primary and secondary articles.  Listed below are some of databases to begin locating primary articles.

  • ScienceDirect
  • Web of Science
  • Biological Abstracts
  • BioMed Central
  • Engineering Village

Information Types & Appropriate Sources

Know what kind of information you are looking for and where to find it.

For example, you are researching _______________________

Major Characteristics of Primary Articles

Many of the items below will be included in scientific primary articles.
These will be named parts of the article.  The items highlighted in red are definitely sections to look for.

  • Abstract
  • Introduction to topic
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Data in figures and tables
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • References


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Antoinette Nelson
Central Library
Office: 313