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Psychology

This LibGuide describes the CSI Library's resources and services that are relevant for learning and research in Psychology.

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources

Sources of information are often categorized as primary, secondary, or tertiary. They are based on the originality of the material, or the origin of the source. Below you will find a description of the three categories of information and examples to help you make a determination.

Primary Sources

These sources are records of events or evidence as they are first described or actually happened without any interpretation or commentary. It is information that is shown for the first time or original materials on which other research is based.  Primary sources display original thinking, report on new discoveries, or share fresh information.

 

Secondary Sources

These sources offer an analysis or restatement of primary sources. They often try to describe or explain primary sources. They tend to be works which summarize, interpret, reorganize, or otherwise provide an added value to a primary source.

Tertiary Sources

These are sources that index, abstract, organize, compile, or digest other sources. Some reference materials and textbooks are considered tertiary sources when their chief purpose is to list, summarize or simply repackage ideas or other information. Tertiary sources are usually not credited to a particular author.

Examples of primary sources: 

original artwork, poems, photographs, speeches, letters, memos, personal narratives, diaries, interviews, and correspondence.

Examples of Secondary Sources: 
Books and articles that interpret or review research works, histories, biographies, literary criticism and interpretation, reviews of law and legislation, political analyses and commentaries.

Examples of Tertiary Sources: 
Dictionaries/encyclopedias, almanacs, fact books, Wikipedia, bibliographies, directories, guidebooks, manuals, handbooks, and textbooks (may be secondary), indexing and abstracting sources.