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Ohio University Libraries

POLS 2500: International Relations

Fall 2020 - Dr. Andrew Ross

Source Types (Primary, Seconday, Tertiary)

These sources are first-hand accounts of events or evidence without any interpretation, comments, or filter. Primary sources show the information, research, or event as the original material; they display original thought, or report on new discoveries, or share new information.

Examples:

  • Newspaper article written at the time
  • Diary or journal
  • Research article that is not a review or summary (original research/data)
  • Artifacts (fossils, coins, or buildings of another time)
  • Email or original tweet/post (not a re-tweet or share)
  • Scripts of plats or films
  • Patents
  • Photographs or maps or posters
  • Interviews
  • Works of art
  • Video recordings or films
  • Records and reports of organizations or conference proceedings

Secondary sources are reviews, accounts, summaries, or interpretations of the event or evidence (primary source) after they occurred. Normally these kinds of materials add comments or summarize events or evidence with some insight. 

Examples:

  • Review research article
  • Books like biographies or about a historical event
  • Commentaries
  • Reviews or summaries

Tertiary sources distil primary and secondary sources. Think of them as a list or reference material or repackaging of an event, idea, or person in a more compact way.

Examples:

  • Wikipedia and other dictionaries and encyclopedias (Could be considered secondary)
  • Fact books
  • Directories or manuals
  • Textbooks

Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

 

 

Scholarly Articles 

Popular Articles

Examples:
Nature, Journal of Psychology, Foreign Policy, Journal of ... New York Times, Time Magazine, CBS, NPR, Buzzfeed
Authorship:
Written by experts in the field of study. Mostly written by journalists and professional writers.
Citations:
Has lots of citations within the article.  Seldom has citations. 
Audience:
Written for people studying/researching an area.  Written for the general public. 
Publication time:
Very slow. It can take years to be published. 

Very fast. Within a day or even hours.  

Purpose: 
Facilitate communication between scholars in a field of study.   Entertain or to inform the reader of current events.  
Review process:

Often peer-reviewed. 

Editorially reviewed.