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Primary sources are ones written by the scientists who performed the experiments, during the time of the study - these articles include original research data.
Secondary sources are ones that summarize or compare lots of research in a particular area.
So how can you tell if a science article is a primary source? Primary research articles will include sections about:
- methodology - explaining how the experiment was conducted
- results - detailing what happened and providing raw data sets (often as tables or graphs)
- conclusions - connecting the results with theories and other research
- references - to previous research or theories that influenced the research
Best Bets for Primary Sources
This is the world's most comprehensive nursing & allied health research database, providing full text for more than 1,300 journals--with no embargo. It covers nursing, biomedicine, health sciences librarianship, alternative/complementary medicine, consumer health and 17 allied health disciplines.
Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition
Scholarly full-text journals focusing on many medical disciplines, and features the Lexi-PAL Drug Guide, which covers 1,300 generic drug patient education sheets with more than 4,700 brand names.
Indexes articles on all aspects of medicine, published all over the world. Use for human biology, anatomy, and physiology, psychiatry, pharmacology, and health care management, administration, and policy. The MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) search is extremely helpful in finding terms. After you find an especially appropriate article, click on Related Records to find other articles of interest.
ScienceDirect offers access to the publications of Elsevier Science and its subsidiaries - nearly 2,500 journals and 30,000 books. The collection contains selected full text of journal articles (since 1995) and book chapters. The collection focuses on science, technology and medicine, it also contains many journal titles from other social science disciplines.
Scopus calls itself the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature: over 21,500 scientific journals, 130,000 books and conference proceedings, covering all fields of academic study: science, technology, medicine, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Scopus also includes 8 different citation metrics, analyzing impact at the author, article, journal, and institution levels.
Other Relevant Databases
Dissertations and Theses
This database provides citations for over 2.7 million dissertations and theses from colleges and universities around the world. Close to half are available in PDF form that researchers can download. All St. Thomas dissertations that have been submitted to the database are available in PDF also. If you should come across a document that does not have a PDF, you may purchase a copy or request it through interlibrary loan (ILLiad).
Start here when you need to find research in psychology. Which areas of psychology? Just about all of them. PsycINFO covers mental health, counseling, cognitive science, neuroscience, education, learning, family studies and language. Provides full-text access (back to the first issue) of the journals published by the American Psychological Association, as well as other association journals and many books and book chapters.
How do you know when you are done researching?
Are you seeing the same articles over and over?