Skip to main content

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources

Learn to distinguish primary, secondary and tertiary sources in the humanities and sciences.

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources

Some research will require you to distinguish between and use one or more of the following: primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. What exactly these sources are can change depending on the context in which they are used and what subject or discipline you are studying.

Watch the video below for an overview of the differences between these types of sources.  Then use the tabs on the left for examples of what primary, secondary, and tertiary sources are.


To cite this LibGuide use the following templates:

APA: Northern Essex Community College Library. (Date updated). Title of page. Title of LibGuide. Retrieved from URL

MLA: Northern Essex Community College Library. "Title of Page." Title of LibGuide, Date updated, URL.