The Different Types of Sources for Research

Friday, December 11, 2009

Research paper writing assignments come with certain guidelines. One of the most important instructions for the assignment, included in the guidelines, will be that of the sources to be used for the research. The guidelines will mention the number of sources and also the types of sources to be used. It is absolutely important to follow the guidelines in order to secure the best grades for your academic assignments.

Some assignments come with lesser restrictions on sources. Such assignments aim at evaluating your ability to choose the right kind of source necessary for the research. When you are given the liberty to choose the source of your preference, you will be facing the difficult task of finding the most appropriate one. Before starting your search for a good source, you need to know some basic facts about the types of sources. There are different kinds of classifications for sources depending on its various aspects. One such classification is that of the different levels of proximity it has to its actual creator.

The first level which is closest to the author is known as the primary source. This type of sources consists of the books, articles or any creative work which come directly from the author or artist. This includes original works of art or literature which are registered in the name of the creator of the work.

The next level is that of the secondary sources. This category of sources will use the information which is borrowed from a primary source. For example, a news coverage on sex trafficking which mentions a particular article published by an author would prove as a secondary source to the original article. Book reviews, text books which use the works of famous writers and researchers and anything that refers to a primary source comes under the category of secondary sources.

You will find a further level of sources which is called the tertiary sources. This is usually a list or an index of the primary and secondary sources. Tertiary sources give information on primary and secondary sources in abstract or sometimes in an annotated form. It can be a categorized list of books or articles under a certain subject, a bibliographical listing of the works on a specific topic or a list of all the works by a particular author. To be precise, a tertiary source is something that will help you spot the sources you are looking for. Tertiary sources are not usually mentioned in the bibliographical data, unless necessary.

Certain assignment guidelines forbid the use of anything but primary sources. If specified so, it is better to avoid secondary sources even for casual reference. It will be very easy for the people who judge your paper to make out the difference. If you are not sure of how to go about choosing the sources you should consult your advisor or someone who is knowledgeable enough to assist you with the task. The sources can influence the research paper writing procedure a lot. Hence if you are aiming at preparing an outstanding research paper, it is important to understand the different types of sources and choose the most suitable one for the particular academic assignment.

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