Using information

All writing at academic level involves gathering and using information of some sort, whether it is data from experiments, interviews or background reading material. A big part of being a successful writer is using this information in a strategic way. Information can be divided into primary sources, secondary sources or tertiary sources (Rienecker and Jorgensen, 2013).

Primary sources

This is the original or ”raw” research. It might include:

  • experimental data
  • code
  • interviews / personal contact
  • original documents e.g. laws, regulations, instructions, correspondence
  • case studies

Secondary sources

This is the interpretation of the data and often comes in the form of:

  • books
  • journal articles
  • reports

Tertiary sources

These summarise secondary sources and often come in the form of:

  • textbooks
  • encyclopedias
  • wikis

This section discusses the use of secondary sources and in particular:

  • how to find academic texts
  • how to read these texts in a strategic way
  • how to use these texts in writing
  • how to refer to these texts