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Neuroscience Courses & Research

What is a Primary Source?

Primary sources are original research experiments that 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 they expect students to search for and analyze original scientific research.

Journal of Neuroscience cover
cover of Science Journal
cover of the American Journal of Science and Technology
cover of the Journal of the American Chemical Society

Overview and Secondary Sources

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.

An overview source is a kind of secondary source that provides a "big picture" understanding of a given topic.

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