What constitutes a primary, secondary, or tertiary source can vary from discipline to discipline. This grid illustrates this point at a glance.
Primary, secondary, or tertiary? You decide.
Use Google Scholar to find academic-quality information (articles, papers, reports) on the Web.
This chart presents source examples by discipline:
|Art/Architecture||A painting by Chagall
A building by F.L. Wright
|Journal articles or books
discussing either work
|An encyclopedia of artists
or dictionary of architects
|Chemistry/Biology||Pasteur's notebook||A book about his work||An encyclopedia of famous medical breakthroughs|
|Engineering||A device patent||The Engineering Village database||A machine's instructional manual|
|Humanities||Transcripts of Oval Office tape recordings||A website discussing Nixon's White House tapes||A dictionary of American presidents|
|Social Sciences||Freud's diary||A journal article discussing psychoanalysis||A psychology textbook|
|Performing Arts||The movie "The Silence of the Lambs"||A biography of co-star Jodie Foster||A review of the movie|
Example from the discipline of art: