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Palm Harbor University High School

Types of Sources

Source Classification 

Primary: records from when the event first happened. These types of sources are showing information for the first time and are original materials that other research is based on. This can be a newspaper article, letters, photographs, interviews, datasets, novels or songs .  

Secondary: a source that analysis or restates information from a primary source. This includes textbooks, books and articles that interpret research from another source, literary criticism, biographies 

Reference Resources: These are resources that give background information on a topic but are not as specifically focused on one area like a secondary source. These are encyclopedias, Wikipedia, dictionaries. These types of resources can be helpful when deciding on your topic. 

What does peer-reviewed mean?

  • A peer reviewed article has gone through evaluation and review by reviewers who are specialists in that subject
  • The process can take months 
  • Popular resources like newspapers, magazine and blogs may be well researched and have important information but if they do not go through the peer review process they are not peer reviewed or scholarly
  • Peer reviewed articles are often very narrow in scope and are not a great place to start if you don't know anything about the topic (You want to start with a reference resource for that)

Key Concepts

Authority Is Constructed and Contextual refers to the recognition that information resources are drawn from their creators’ expertise and credibility based on the information need and the context in which the information will be used. Experts view authority with an attitude of informed skepticism and an openness to new perspectives, additional voices, and changes in schools of thought.

In other words, authority depends on the topic or situation. 

Information Has Value: Information has value as a commodity (behind paywalls), as means of education, as a means of influence. 

Recognize the value of the information you a using by citing it correctly. 

Research as Inquiry: Research is not a linear process, it is iterative and often requires researchers to go back and look at a question in many different ways, it also will require looking at many different resources in order to synthesize an intelligent argument. 

Don't feel bad if research takes a while, this is normal and a part of the process.