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Nursing Research: Getting Started: Primary and Secondary Sources

Resources to help you get started in Nursing research

Primary Sources

A primary source in nursing is one that reports the original findings of a study or experiment. Usually written by the person(s) conducting the research.

Types of primary sources include:

  • Case studies
  • Clinical trials or randomized clinical trials (RCT)
  • Cohort studies
  • Dissertations or theses
  • Qualitative studies
  • Survey research

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Secondary Sources

A secondary source is one that summarizes, synthesizes or comments on original research.Author(s) describe research done by others.

Types of secondary sources include:

  • Books
  • Clinical practice guidelines
  • Meta-analysis
  • Patient education material
  • Qualitative synthesis
  • Reviews of literature
  • Systematic reviews

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