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Oak Park and River Forest High School Library

Prepare

 

 

  1. State your research question/topic

    • EXAMPLE: "How do cigarette companies target children with their advertising?"

  2. Identify main concepts:

    • EXAMPLE:  "How do cigarette companies target children with their advertising?"

  3. Brainstorm synonyms, related terms, broader terms, scientific/technical terms, and more specific terms based on your own background knowledge:

    • EXAMPLE:

      • Cigarette companies:  Philip Morris, Camel, Imperial

      • Children:  child, adolescent, teen, teenager, students, youth

      • Advertising:  ads, marketing, commercials, promotions, product placement

  4. Avoid the following:

    • Abbreviations - spell them out

    • Relationship words - words like compare, contrast, causation, etc.

    • Judgement words - words like best, worst, pro, con, etc.

  5. If needed, search Wikipedia and other reference sources to further develop your list of keywords.

Science

Primary Source Secondary Source
DEFINITION:  A document that fully describes original research written by those that conducted that original research.   DEFINITION:  A document that contains commentary, interpretation, and/or analysis of original research. 
EX:  Academic journal article where researchers describe their own research and experimentation regarding enzymes in bovine liver. European Journal of Biochemistry EX:  Popular magazine blog post that comments on multiple studies regarding the impact of sleep on regulating emotions. Psychology Today

Humanities

Primary Source Secondary Source

DEFINITION:  a document, image, or artifact that provides us with evidence about the past. (Also called a direct source.)

DEFINITION:  A document that contains commentary, interpretation, and/or analysis of a primary source(s).
EX:  the "I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King Jr,  EX:  an academic journal article analyzing King's speech.


Examples of Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary Sources Secondary Sources
  • Academic journal article of original research
  • Conference Papers
  • Correspondence
  • Dissertations
  • Diaries
  • Interviews
  • Lab Notebooks
  • Notes
  • Patents
  • Proceedings
  • Studies or Surveys
  • Technical Reports
  • Theses
  • Newspaper/magazine articles written soon after event (not historical accounts)
  • Popular magazine articles 
  • Academic journal article
  • Criticism and Interpretation
  • Dictionaries (may be tertiary)
  • Encyclopedias (may be tertiary)
  • Government Policy
  • Public Opinion
  • Reviews
  • Social Policy

adapted from University at Albany Library