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CHEM3322: Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry


5. Match Assignment Requirements

Primary and Secondary Research

Primary Sources or Original Research

How can you identify a primary source?

  • Researchers report new, original observations
  • Focus on very narrow topic
  • Short–moderate list of references
  • Target audience: other researchers doing similar work
  • Usually include methodology section (reproducible)

 Reviews or Secondary Research

A review summarizes and interprets multiple primary sources. Reviews can

  • Focus on the history of previous research
  • Assess competing models or hypotheses
  • Survey recent developments

Filter by Document Type

Document Type is an imperfect filter in most library databases, including SciFindern. Most items listed as a Review will also be a Journal [article]. You can

  • Examine abstracts to determine if an item presents original research
  • Use advanced database features to remove reviews from the results

Based on the abstract, is the following article a primary source?

Use Additional SciFinderⁿ [SciFinder-n] Filters

Use SciFndern filters to find material matching particular formats required by your assignment.

Filter by Language

You should be able to read the material you cite.

"Undetermined" language items:

  • Older item, incompletely described when added to database
  • Original item includes abstracts in > 1 language
  • Database error

Since items labeled as "undetermined" may be written in English, they are worth a look

Filter by Organization

Scientists collaborate across institutions, and even internationally. Double check the "fine print" in the articles you select to see if members of different research groups co-authored the material.

Why do some organizations appear to be duplicated?

  • Politics in a multi-campus system
  • Information from original item
  • Problem with database housekeeping