Primary Sources

Question: Should all academic writing be based on primary sources?Explain your answer through a discussion of the role of sources (primary, secondary and tertiary) in different disciplines.


  1. In today’s world, students are expected to use primary sources in the academia as the basis when they write research papers or academic writing.

  2. I agree on the statement that all academic writing should be based on primary sources.

  3. The main characteristic of academic writing is the argument, reasoned, and detailed explanation that supported by the evidence from the relevant sources.

  4. Reliable and relevant sources will be the backbone and the basis of any well-written papers or essays.

  5. Primary sources should be the basis of academic writing, however, it does not mean that other external materials, such as secondary and tertiary sources should not be used in writing papers.

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  1. A primary source provide unfiltered access and firsthand evidence of the past under academic research presented by participants of the event.

6.1 By using primary sources, students will get some benefits on how to write the research paper and writing academically.

6.1.1 Franquiz and Salinas (2013) provide support for the claim as their findings showed that through document-based questions and primary sources, students will develop improvement in their English, academic vocabulary, and concepts in the learning of American history. This means that using primary sources will give value to the students on how to research and write about the related issue during the past era.

6.1.2 Anderson, Golia, Katz, and Tally (n.d.) find that after visiting the archives of primary sources, participating students were excited and more engaged about their coursework, developed academic skills, and accomplished better course results on year between 2011 and 2013.

6.2 Primary sources are more important than other sources.

6.2.1 Gilad (1995, p. 58) indicate that facts from primary sources are more reliable and valuable than published information. That is because primary sources give better information about motivation, cultures, intentions, and underlying assumptions of the participants in the industry other than secondary sources.

6.2.2 ‘Primary and secondary sources: guidelines for authors’ (2009) give evidence that authors should include their own experiences and opinions in their paper, however, it is significant to use primary sources whenever possible in all arguments.

  1. Using primary sources in academic essays is important as it will engage students, help them to develop critical thinking skills, and learn to construct knowledge about the past era.

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  1. Secondary sources in academic writing are interpretations and evaluations of primary sources which can be of value in improving student overall research papers.

8.1 Reviewing secondary source material will facilitate the author to get what is known about the primary issue.

8.1.1 The study of Murphy (2010, p. 1) builds evidence that it is best to read the primary source at first, although sometimes reading a secondary commentary source can give a faster understanding on a difficult primary source topic.

8.1.2 Alderman (2014) support the claim as secondary sources provide discussion and analysis by researchers who have investigated primary sources and try to find the significance of the sources.

8.2 Secondary source can give a wrong interpretation of primary source.

8.2.1 Winslow (2009, p.13) support the claims because using secondary sources may lead to perpetuation of errors. If there is an error in the secondary sources, the error will be remained in the literature as other researchers had used that secondary source for decades.

  1. Hence, secondary sources will assist students to investigate and write their research papers in a better view of difficult primary sources, yet students still need to look at primary source and give judgment whether they can use the facts on secondary sources.

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  1. Tertiary sources will lead students to additional resources, which can be primary or secondary sources as tertiary sources often contain references and bibliographies that will help authors in academic writing.

10.1 ‘Information sources constituting the management literature’ (1986, p. 38) present evidence that tertiary sources function as a tool for locating the appropriate secondary and primary sources. In this case, tertiary sources will guide the students in accessing other sources to work on their research study.

  1. A tertiary source can be a good start for students to search for primary and secondary sources that will be useful for their writing.

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12.Regardless of the distinctions between the three sources in academic writing, there appears to be a confusion in determining whether a source is primary or secondary.

12.1 Lombard (2010) presents evidence that it depends on the skill of the researcher to analyze the topic and perceptions among faculty in defining whether a source is primary or secondary.

  1. Authors need to evaluate the source that they are going to use in the research essay as it could be primary source and secondary source depends on the issue and insight of the researcher.


  1. In conclusion, all of academic writing should be based on primary sources, however, it depends on the topic of the essay and the skills of the authors on choosing the appropriate sources for writing an academic essay.

  2. Reliable and reputable sources will back up the claims and arguments of academic essay.

  3. All three types of sources may be referred to consistently in academic writing.

  4. Overall, the author of academic research should understand the information of the sources that fits the issue of the research paper.