A primary source in the biology field typically refers to a journal article. The author(s) conduct an original research experiment and publish the results or findings in scholarly journals. High-quality articles go through a peer-review process before being published. When your professor asks you to use primary sources it means he or she expects students to search for and analyze original scientific research.
A secondary source means the author(s) are writing about others’ research. Thus the research is secondary because it is a second-hand translation of original research. Secondary sources include encyclopedias, dictionaries, textbooks and review articles where the author analyzes and critiques others’ original research articles. Secondary sources can be high-quality scholarly publications that provide background information on a topic. They are an excellent starting point when learning about a new topic.
Examples of Print & Electronic Secondary Sources Available in the Vogel Library Collection
It will be important to brainstorm possible keywords in order to "research" effectively:
Freshwater Food Webs
microcosms and food webs