Types of Sources for a Research

What are the types of sources for related literature? Researchers need to familiarize themselves with the types of sources before they begin to search for information related to the research question. The types of sources include general, primary, secondary, and tertiary sources.

  1. General references are sources that are first accessed by researchers to give them information about other sources such as research articles, professional journals, books, monographs, conference proceedings, and similar documents. The Current Index of Journals in Education is an example of this source.
  2. Primary sources are those that provide first-hand information about experts’ and other researchers’ publications. These publications contain findings that are directly communicated to the readers and interested parties. Authors’ information for future correspondences may also be found in these publications. Examples of this kind include academic and research journals published by universities and learned organizations.
  3. Secondary sources are those written by authors that describe another researcher’s works. These materials or documents may contain only summaries or interpretations of the research reports rather than a complete description of them. Good secondary sources are articles on meta-analysis of studies conducted in a period of time because they can provide research gaps and overstudied areas of a research field. Secondary sources include textbooks, single-authored books, and books edited by different authors with each contributing to a collection of chapters on a single topic.
  4. Tertiary sources are books and articles based on secondary sources. It synthesizes and explains the work of others.

Related literature is surveyed for theories and concepts that can be used as bases of the present research. A theory is defined as a statement that makes a claim about a certain phenomenon. Theories can range from complex, well-researched claims to informal guesses about specific situations. As these statements may be viewed as abstract and complex body of ideas, it is required to break them down into their constituent parts for better understanding and to show how they can provide support to the problem, procedures, and findings of the present study. These statements are normally composed of several concepts and how they relate to one another. Concept is a particular phenomenon that can be both abstract and concrete. Everyone in a society shares many concepts, though one may present different interpretations of people with distinctive culture and language.