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Chemical Literature: Primary, Secondary, and tertiary sources

A guide for use by students in the Chemical Literature class.


Types of sources

  • As research is created and disseminated, it moves from being a primary source → →  toward being → →  a tertiary source.
  • The earlier in the process (and closer to the actual science being done) the more likely you are dealing with a primary sources.
  • When you start to research a topic (before you do any science), you go the opposite direction ← ←. You may start with a tertiary source, like Wikipedia or library database and move toward the original work or primary research.