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Biology 384: Marine Mammalogy_Spring 2016: Literature in the Sciences

Research guide to facilitate student research papers and student led discussion activity on marine mammal conservation topics for Dr. Heidi Pearson's Biology 384: Marine Mammalogy course.

Primary vs. Secondary Literature


Primary Articles in the Sciences


Definition: Original research published by person(s) who did the study. This literature can include:


  • Report of scientific discoveries
  • Results of experiments
  • Results of clinical trials

Examples of Primary Literature:

  • Published results of research studies in an scholarly journal
  • Published results of scientific experiments in a report or journal
  • Proceedings of conferences and meetings



Secondary Articles in the Sciences


Definition: Articles that contain commentary on or a discussion about primary sources.


  • Analyzes and interprets research results
  • Analyzes and interprets scientific discoveries

Examples of Secondary Literature:

  • Publications about the significance of research or experiments in a report
  • Review of the results of several experiments or trials in a scholarly journal
  • Popular news articles in magazines
  • Science Textbooks

Why Peer Review?