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SOC 4150 Sociology of Law: Source Types

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources

  Primary Sources Secondary Sources Tertiary Sources
Definition Raw data; original sources of information before it has been analyzed. Sources that analyze or interpret primary data. They do not offer new evidence.  Sources that compile data on a particular topic. 
Characteristics First-hand observations, contemporary accounts of events, viewpoints at the time.  Interpretations of information, written after the event, offer review or critique.  Collections or lists of primary and secondary sources, reference works, finding tools for sources. 
Examples Interviews, speeches, diaries, birth certificates, newspaper articles written at the time.
Biographies, journal articles, textbooks, commentaries, editorials, literary criticisms. Encyclopedias, bibliographies, abstracts, indexes, literature reviews, library catalogs, databases.



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