NIH Bridges to the Future

This guide is for students in the NIH Summer Bridge program. It is an introduction to the research process with a focus on finding and reading academic sources.

Library Research Guide

Types of Information

K-State Libraries has resources that provide different types of information. Primary sources are created by and for experts in an area of study, so that might not be the best place to start learning a new topic. Encyclopedias or textbooks are less specific and cover broader topics so are easier to understand for audiences with less experience on a given topic. News articles have the broadest audience and are written by science communicators so that's a great place to start when learning a new topic.

Dissertations usually cover one thing in 4-6 years' worth of detail but have introductory sections that may make sense to a broad audience before diving deep in one aspect of a topic.

Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary sources info-graphic. Primary sources are the raw data that include first hand-observations or contemporary accounts of events. Examples of primary sources are interviews, speeches, diaries, birth certificates, and science journal articles; secondary sources are sources that have analyzed or interpreted primary sources. These sources offer review or critique, but do not offer new evidence. They are written after the event has occurred. Examples include biographies, textbooks, journal articles, and editorials. Tertiary sources compile data on a particular topic. They are collections of primary and secondary sources, finding tools, or reference works. Examples of tertiary sources are encyclopedias, abstracts, indexes, literature reviews, library catalogs, and databases

Image source: The Library at University of California San Diego


Science in the Classroom