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EMSP 3041: Current Research in Emergency Health Sciences: Types of Sources

An introduction to resources for research in EMSP 3041.

Scholarly vs. Popular vs. Trade Publications

Type of Publication Scholarly (Academic) Popular Trade Publication
Purpose To inform scholars and others of new research or ideas To inform, entertain or persuade the general public; commercial purpose To inform professionals in a specific industry of news or trends
Language or Style Scientific or technical Informal, non-technical Mostly informal, some technical and jargon
Authors Scholar, researcher or expert with credentials Staff writer, journalist, generalist or freelance writer Industry professionals
Selection/Review Process Peer-reviewed or refereed by scholars or experts in the field Reviewed by an editor Reviewed by one or more industry professionals.
Advertising Limited, field-related ads Multiple ads on a variety of products or topics Multiple ads related to the field
Examples The Journal of Emergency Medicine, Psychological Review TimeNewsweekNational Geographic EMS World, Advertising Age


Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Type of Source Primary Secondary
Definition Direct or first-hand evidence about an event, object, person or work. Second-hand account that evaluates, interprets, and analyzes primary sources.

Report of scientific discoveries

Results of experiments 

Newspaper or magazine article in which the author gives a firsthand account

Autobiographies and memoirs

Writings such as manuscripts, letters, journals, email and other online communications

Interviews and surveys


Government documents and statistics

Laws, court cases and decisions

Artifacts, photographs, and artwork

*Includes copies of the original materials

Publications about the significance or analysis of research

Newspaper or magazine article that interprets information



Textbooks and most books about a specific topic

Reference books such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases

Criticism/reviews of literature, art, film and theatre

*May contain photos, quotes or graphics of primary sources