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Library Research Skills for Land and Food Systems

Primary literature

How can I use this?

Primary sources are some of the most important documents in scientific research, and often they are expected to form the bulk of the sources you incorporate into your research paper. Successfully identifying primary sources is key to writing a successful research paper.

What is primary literature?

In science, sources that report on original research are known as Primary literature. They include:

  • Conference Proceedings: It is common for scientists to present their findings at a conference. These presentations are often written up and published in conference proceedings.
  • Journal articles: Journals somewhat resemble magazines in appearance but they report on the findings of scholarly studies. Well-respected journals include articles that are evaluated by other researchers in the field (i.e. peer-reviewed or refereed). Journals can be published in print (i.e. hard copy) or on the web (also known as electronic journals or ejournals).

Insulin: Publishing the results

Conference proceedings: Banting presented their preliminary results at the American Physiological Society conference at Yale University in December 1921. In May 1922, the success of their clinical testing was presented at the conference for the Association for American Physicians.
Journal articles: During this time, Banting and Best also wrote up their findings and submitted two papers to the Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine.