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BIOL 3200: Writing for Biologists

This guide is here to support students in the Writing for Biologists Course.

Primary and Secondary Research

Primary Sources in the Sciences Secondary Sources in the Sciences
Primary sources in the sciences involve original research, ideas or scientific discoveries. They generally report results from experiments of research studies. They are factual, and NOT interpretive. Secondary sources interpret primary sources and other secondary sources. Secondary sources may include data, but they are still secondary if the authors were not directly involved with the research.
• Research studies or scientific experiments
• Papers and proceedings from scientific conferences
• Dissertations and theses
• Technical reports
• Patents
• Interviews
• Laboratory notebooks

• Analysis of clinical trials
• Reviews of the results of several experiments
• Monographs
• Editorials
• Encyclopedias
• Textbooks

Article Infographic



John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300