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Edward G. Miner Library

Health Humanities: Primary and Secondary Sources: Primary Sources

This guide is designed as a starting point for research in the biomedical field.

What is a Biomedical Primary Source?

A biomedical primary source is a document or record that reports on a study, experiment, trial or research project. Primary sources are usually written by the person(s) who did the research, conducted the study, or ran the experiment, and include hypothesis, methodology, and results.

Biomedical Primary Sources include:                                

  • Pilot/prospective studies
  • Cohort studies
  • Survey research
  • Case studies
  • Lab notebooks
  • Clinical trials and randomized clinical trials/RCTs
  • Dissertations

What is a primary source?

Primary sources are first-hand accounts of a topic or event provided by individuals who experienced them. These sources may be published or unpublished.

Examples of primary sources:

  • Letters, manuscript drafts, and other original documents
  • Newspaper articles
  • Memoirs
  • Oral history interviews, speeches, diaries
  • Datasets, censuses, economic statistics, or survey data
  • Original research
  • Documentaries, photos, video, or audio recordings that captured an event