Primary, secondary, and tertiary sources are all part of research, but they are all distinctly unique. These three sources are commonly used in research. These sources provide people with the ability to answer questions in business management as well as several other areas of influence. This article will discuss the primary, secondary, and tertiary resources and the differences between them.
Primary sources are “original works of research or raw data without interpretation or pronouncements that represent an official opinion or position” (Cooper & Schindler, 2006, Ch. 7). A primary source is a source that does not have any added motives or information. It is in its original state. An example of primary sources are “memos, letters, complete interviews or speeches (in audio, video, or written transcript formats), laws, regulations, court decisions or standards, and most government data, including census, economic, and labor data,” and this type of source is the most valid because of its lack of influence (Cooper & Schindler, 206, CH. 7).
Secondary sources tale primary sources and interpret them; textbooks, history books, encyclopedias, annual business reports, other reference materials, and sales analysis reports are all examples of secondary sources (Cooper & Schindler, 2006). Secondary sources are compiled by using primary sources and have credibility, but they are not as strong as primary sources.
Tertiary sources are the third level of credibility as a source, and they generally include bibliographies, internet searches, and indexes (Cooper & Schindler, 2006). These sources are further down the chain from primary resources because they are resources that utilize secondary and primary resources.
All of these sources are different because they hold a different value. Primary sources have the highest value, then secondary, followed by tertiary. The higher value a source has the higher its credibility is. A good researcher wants to use the most credible sources possible to produce honest, factual, and correct information and theories.
Understanding what primary, secondary, and tertiary resources are is important when conducting research. Knowing the differences between these sources will help a researcher develop theories, answers, and information that is valid and credibile. Understanding how each of these resources are used and the value they possess is an important tool to any form of research.
Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, P. S. (2006). Business Research Methods (th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.