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The research skills tutorial

Humanities vs. Sciences

Primary and secondary sources are going to look different in the humanities (for example, English or History) than they do in the sciences (for example, Chemistry or Psychology). Here are some examples:

  Humanities Sciences
Primary Sources
  • Interviews with people who were at a historic event, such as Gulf War veterans
  • Government data and records, such as census statistics
  • Newspaper articles by reporters who saw or directly reported on an event
  • Letters or diaries
  • Speeches, either recorded or written
  • Artistic works, such as songs, photographs, paintings, or novels


  • Journal articles on research results from clinical trials, controlled trials, or other scientific studies
  • Journal articles on results from scientific experiments
  • Conference proceedings
Secondary Sources
  • Reviews of books or performances
  • Literary criticism
  • Biographies
  • Newspaper or journal articles that interpret events
  • Journal articles reviewing several studies in a research area
  • Journal articles discussing the impact of research
  • Articles or reports analyzing research results