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In the sciences, the primary literature:
is a first-hand report of the
results of research activities often includes
analyses of data collected in the field or the laboratory is very
current (as of the date of publication) and highly specialized .
Examples of primary literature in the sciences include:
The secondary literature:
summarizes and synthesizes the primary literature is both
broader and less current than the primary literature is useful for getting an
overview of a research area is useful for
finding citations to more information on a topic.
Examples of secondary literature in the sciences include:
literature reviews (or review articles) - More about literature reviews
monographs (books or book chapters dealing with a specific area of research in the sciences)
The tertiary literature:
broad, discipline-level topics in the sciences (like biochemistry or evolution) is a useful starting point for
background information on a research topic reports very
well-established facts in the scientific literature usually doesn't have an extensive reference list
Examples of tertiary literature in the sciences include: