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GEOL 103 History of Earth with Maria Kelly: Primary Sources

What is a Primary Source?

In the sciences, a Primary Source is the original publication of new research, data or theories by the person(s) who conducted the research or formulated the theory.

Primary Sources are typically published in Scholarly Journals, accessible through library databases like Academic Search Premier (EBSCO). They are often characterized by standardized sections - you can remember them with the acronym AIMRAD.

A - Abstract (short summary of article)

I - Introduction (gives overview of topic)

M - Methods/Materials (explains the study/experiment and sometimes materials used)

R - Results (findings of the study/experiment)

A - And

D - Discussion (what the findings mean and what else remains to be known)


They will also have a long list of References (the sources the authors used) at the end. Sometimes the sections might be combined, named differently, or unnamed, so if you aren't sure if what you have is a Primary Source email Haley or Ask a Librarian.

Primary Source Video Tutorial