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Human Physiology: PubMed and more

Importing from Pubmed & PMC to Refworks


Tutorials for Human Physiology Resources

MeSH: Medical Subject Headings

Database & RefWorks Tutorials

PubMed Tutorials

MEDLINE via EBSCOhost Tutorial

RefWorks Tutorials

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (MSSE) Guide to Manuscript and Citation Style

Links to Human Physiology Databases & Resources

Types of Sources & Documents

In the sciences, information is often categorized into three types of sources: primary, secondary and tertiary. These source types are determined based on how far removed the information in the source is from original research. 

Primary Sources

In the sciences, a primary source is a source that includes original research that's documented at the time of study. A primary source will always have a Methods section that describes the researchers' procedures and materials. Primary sources can take the form of:

  • original research article
  • scholarly journal article
  • academic journal article
  • thesis or dissertation
  • conference paper
  • lab notebook

Secondary Sources

Secondary sources offer analysis, evaluation, interpretation and/or synthesis of primary sources. A secondary source could be:

  • review article
  • literature review
  • systematic review
  • meta-analysis
  • editorial
  • book or product review
  • monograph (book) or book chapter
  • conference proceedings (collections of conference papers)

Tertiary Sources

Tertiary sources offer summaries or compilations of information from primary and secondary sources. A tertiary source could be:

  • encyclopedia, dictionary or handbook
  • textbook
  • bibliography
  • evidence-based care sheet
  • survey article

Document & Publication Types in NLM

There is no completely uniform language for describing document/publication types. This is true even within a single field of study, like Human Physiology. The ways documents and publications are defined can vary by journal and database. However, some of the most commonly used databases for scientific and medical information, like the National Library of Medicine, carefully define the terms they use to describe documents and publications. Understanding how databases classify and distinguish between publication & document types will provide further context for your use of this specialized information:

National Library of Medicine (NLM) Publication Characteristics

MSSE Style (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise)

Scroll to the "Manuscript Preparation" section toward the bottom to see examples of book, journal article, and more citation style examples.