Old Dominion University Libraries

STARquest I: Library Services & Resources

2b. What is a primary source?

The usual pattern of scholarly research is for the researcher to:

  • Identify a topic of interest
  • Carry out the research; this may include both library research and experimental research
  • Share the results with colleagues, possibly as a paper presented at a conference
  • Write articles for publication in scholarly journals, presenting the research results

Such conference papers and journal articles are considered primary literature or primary sources.