Scholars use tertiary sources to collect information that is not primary or secondary but reliable. Examples include books, journal articles, and files from archives.
If you’re writing a long essay, term paper, or thesis, you’ll undoubtedly want to know all there is to know about different sorts of sources. There is a tertiary source in addition to the main and secondary sources (which you may already be aware of). What is a tertiary source, though? How can you know which one is which, and why is it crucial to distinguish between the three sorts of sources?
We will cover all you need about the tertiary source in this blog article. You’ll find examples and even a fantastic proposal for academic writing help. Continue reading!
What Is a Tertiary Source of Information?
Because this blog will mostly concentrate on tertiary sources, we’ll begin with a definition of tertiary sources.
This source organizes, indexes, compiles, or digests primary and secondary materials. It’s important to remember that tertiary sources seldom offer author credit.
On the other hand, a main secondary, tertiary source provides a firsthand account (primary) or an analysis/explanation of the event recorded in a primary source (secondary).
The distinction between Primary, secondary, and tertiary sources.
It is critical to distinguish between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. Why? Because your papers should mostly consist of primary and secondary sources. You may mistakenly utilize too many tertiary sources if you cannot distinguish between different academic sources. Unfortunately, this may result in your paper being penalized. Here’s what you need to know about primary, secondary, and tertiary sources so you can choose the best ones:
- A primary source is generally produced when the events took place. It is a personal description of what transpired, on the other hand. A main source of knowledge might be a journal, an interview, a poem, a relic, or an item.
- A secondary source is often written after the events have occurred. They are studying or interpreting the main source or sources in most situations. For example, a magazine or a biography are examples of secondary sources.
- A summary of primary and secondary sources is referred to as tertiary sources. It’s also possible that it’s an abstract. A dictionary, for example, is an excellent tertiary source.
A Few Examples of Tertiary Sources
Now that you’ve learned more about primary, secondary, and tertiary sources of information, it’s time to concentrate completely on tertiary sources of information. Here are some of the greatest examples of tertiary sources:
- An encyclopedia
- An online encyclopedia (including online encyclopedias)
- A handbook
- A collection of facts
- A handbook (if it is not a secondary source)
- A handbook
- Any kind of indexing source is acceptable.
- Any kind of abstracting source is acceptable.
Where Can I Find Tertiary Sources?
Do you know what a tertiary source is in terms of research? Based on our examples, you should be able to tell the difference between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. Even though we defined tertiary sources, we did not tell you where to acquire them. Of course, there are a plethora of them available on the internet. Many, such as dictionaries and textbooks, are also available offline. Your local library should be a great place to go for tertiary information.
The following are some examples of reputable tertiary sources that you may find online:
- California’s Statistical Abstract
- The New Dictionary of Intellectual History
- The ABI/Inform database is searchable.
- Atlas of the World
- Online database of Columbia International Affairs
- The National Biography of the United States of America
- The Oxford Islamic Studies Center is a research institute dedicated to Islamic studies.
- The Oxford Encyclopedia of Military and Diplomatic History in the United States of America
- The Directory of Correctional Institutions
Even if tertiary sources are many, it is critical to ensure that you are utilizing trustworthy ones. Some Wikipedia entries (which might be considered a tertiary source) are inaccurate, for example. After all, anybody with access to the internet can edit a Wikipedia entry and add inaccurate or misleading material.
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We’re pretty confident you have some inquiries concerning tertiary academic sources. We’ll address the most frequent questions we get from students in this area of Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Is it possible to include tertiary sources in a research paper?
Yes, you may utilize tertiary sources in your research writings. After all, they are trustworthy sources of information. It is, nevertheless, considered best practice to back up crucial concepts with more than a tertiary source.
Q: How can I do academic research using a tertiary source?
A: You’ll utilize them in the same way that you’d use a main or secondary source. You incorporate the knowledge into your work, credit the source, and include it in your References section.
Q. Is Wikipedia considered a tertiary source?
A: Wikipedia is classified as a tertiary resource. Fun fact: Wikipedia has a page stating that it is a tertiary source and demonstrating how to reference it in all academic writing styles.
Q: Can I solely utilize secondary sources?
A: No, you should now strictly rely on tertiary sources for your study. Your work will lack credibility if it is not based on peer-reviewed sources.
Q: In legal papers, may I utilize tertiary sources?
A: In most cases, law students are not permitted to utilize tertiary sources in their papers. The majority of institutions only accept primary and secondary materials. This is because tertiary legal sources are not reliable enough to use as a foundation for your essay.