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This module defines primary and secondary sources, offers examples of each, and provides criteria for distinguishing between these two types of sources. In addition, the module offers strategies and criteria to follow for determining the reliability of a research reference and provides examples of reliable and unreliable sources.


Students will learn that reference sources can be highly reliable; yet, some can be very unreliable. This is especially true with sources found on the Internet. When evaluating sources, students should consider the following questions:

  1. What are the author’s credentials?
  2. Is the author an authority on the subject?
  3. Who published the work?
  4. Is the work current?
  5. How accurate is the information?
  6. Is the information reliable?
  7. Is research objectively presented?
  8. Who is the intended audience?

Students will learn to differentiate between primary and secondary research and sources and understand that primary sources answer the following five questions affirmatively :

Defining primary sources

  1. Was the author present at the time of the event?
  2. Is the report an eyewitness account?
  3. Is the work original? Was it written or created at the time of the event?
  4. Does the information come from personal accounts, experiences, or reports?
  5. Are conclusions drawn from first hand evidence?

Students will also learn that secondary sources respond favorably to the following five questions:

Defining secondary sources

  1. Does the author present second-hand accounts of events?
  2. Does the source interpret information offered by primary sources?
  3. Does the information offer judgments, conjectures, and/or conclusions about events reported in primary sources?
  4. Does someone other than the creator interpret the creative work?
  5. Are theories, facts, results, or discoveries analyzed, evaluated, and/or interpreted second-hand?

Teaching strategies:

The instructor should review all material prior to teaching this lesson. In addition, instructors should ensure that students understand how to evaluate sources wisely. The instructor should review reliable and unreliable sources of information and offer examples of each. In the slide show, definitions and examples of reliable, unreliable, primary, and secondary sources are provided. Students should learn to define and discriminate between each type of source.


In order to offer this lesson, instructors need a computer and a multi-media projector.

The following materials and handouts are provided with this module:

  1. PowerPoint slide show
  2. A hand-out of the slide show for students after they receive the lesson
  3. One practice sheet with primary and secondary source exercises
  4. Answer sheets for the practice exercises


The authors recommend that the instructor distribute the practice sheet to the students as a pre-test prior to receiving the lesson. After completing the lesson, students should answer the practice sheet again as a post-test. In this way, instructors may determine whether the students master this objective or require additional instructional support.

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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