Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

SSI1-195: Scientific and Romantic Revolutions: Types of Sources

Types of Sources

In academic research, it's important to be able to distinguish between different types of sources.  These differences often are contextual, meaning that a single source might fit in different categories depending on how you are using it and in what academic discipline you are writing.

Primary sources are the raw materials of scholarship.

Secondary sources report on or interpret primary sources.

Tertiary sources synthesize and present overviews of primary and secondary sources.

Scholarly sources present sophisticated, researched arguments using both primary and secondary sources and are written by experts.

Popular sources aim to inform or entertain and are intended for a general, non-specialized audience.  In academic writing, popular sources most often are analyzed as primary sources.

Need a quick review?  Take the online tutorial, which includes a self-assessment quiz at the end.

What is research?

Research, like writing, is an incredibly creative process.  As you encounter and sift through sources, you will find yourself shaping your argument in perhaps unexpected ways.  The ultimate goal of research is not "to find the right answer," but rather, to create a persuasive argument based on your synthesis, analysis, and interpretation of the sources you use.  For this reason, the choices you make about which sources to use as you craft your argument are of the upmost importance.

BEAM Framework

BEAM is an acronym intended to help students think about the various ways we might use sources when writing a researched argument. Joseph Bizup, an English professor at Boston University, outlined the framework in a 2008 article. The idea has since been refined and adapted by many others.

Associate Director for Public Services

Peggy Burge's picture
Peggy Burge
Contact:
Collins Library 119
253.879.3512

Work with a Peer Research Advisor!

Fall 2020

Hannah Turner and Allie Highsmith are your Peer Research Advisors for 2020-21!
 
Virtual Drop-in Hours
Sunday through Wednesday:  6:30 to 8:30 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)
We use Google Meet: 
Meeting Phone Numbers: (‪US‬)‪+1 262-457-9538‬, PIN: ‪254 151 924#‬
Please be signed in to Puget Sound's Google Suite for Education.

 

Appointments

Allie and Hannah are also available for individual appointments.  Go to our Schedule a Research Appointment page, click the request button, and select either Hannah or Allie from the drop-down menu to see what appointment times they have available.