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FIS 401: Professional Forensic Communications: Evaluating Information

Guide for FIS 401

Science Information Flow

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Primary vs Secondary Sources


Primary sources can be

  • data obtained through original research --  scholarly, peer-reviewed articles 
  • accounts by an eyewitness or the first recorder of an event -- newspaper articles
  • creative works such as poetry, music, or art
  • artifacts such as pottery, furniture, and buildings.

Secondary sources are works that

  • analyze
  • evaluate
  • interpret, or
  • criticize primary sources

Secondary sources are generally magazines and other non-scholarly sources such as popular books. However, your textbook is a secondary source; it analyzes, evaluates, and interprets information in primary sources.

Sample Article

The Huffington Post article on the link between cannabis and suicide.

Smoking Weed Could Cost Teens [Internet] [cited 2015 2/17/2015]. Available from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/29/smoking-weed-could-cost-teens_n_6063600.html

"Can't Lie on the Internet"

Web Site Evaluation

Source Reliability

Thanks to Clarrisa Sin at Iolani School for allowing me to use this box.