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EAES 160 The Human Environment

Identifying Primary Sources

Identifying the Primary Source

Upon first glance, it might not be easy to identify the research study that's being described in the article. However, there are some clues that you can look for to help you identify if an article is describing original research.

  • You can look for phrases such as:
    • "Scientists at the State University of New Jersey..."
    • "Dr. Brown, author of the study..."
    • "Researchers recently discovered..."
    • "According to a study published in..."
  • Names of researchers, or universities
  • Interviews with researchers
  • Citations to other papers

Using these clues, you can start to collect information on how to find the original research study and locate that article online or in a database.

What's next?

Once you've found some popular or secondary sources that describe your research topic, your next step is to look for research studies either described in the secondary source, or another primary source on the same topic.

If your secondary source includes a citation, or the name of the publication where the research project was published, you can use the Journals A-Z list to see if the library has access to the article.

If your secondary source does not include a citation, or if the library does not have access to the study, do a keyword search in a library database to locate other studies on the same topic.

Recommended Databases

Once you've found some popular or secondary sources that describe your research topic, your next step is to look for research studies either described in the secondary source, or on the same topic.

If your secondary source includes a citation, or the name of the publication where the research project was published, you can use the Journals A-Z list to see if the library has access to the article.

If your secondary source does not include a citation, or if the library does not have access to the study, do a keyword search in a library database to locate other studies on the same topic.

How to Find a Specific Journal

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