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Research Guides


Articles and Primary Literature in Botany

In the sciences, a primary source describes original research, while a secondary source analyzes or comments on a primary source or sources.  For example, a research article is primary literature because it describes an original experiment and its results, while a review article is secondary literature because it collates multiple research articles to describe the current state of the field. A tertiary source is an index or consolidation of primary and secondary sources.

Examples of primary sources: 

  • Research articles
  • Theses and dissertations
  • Conference proceedings
  • Reports
  • Patents 
  • Unrefined data sets 

Examples of secondary sources:

  • Review articles
  • Data compilations
  • Most books

Examples of tertiary sources:

  • Encyclopedias
  • Dictionaries
  • Field and identification guides


Information adapted from the University of Minnesota and the University of Louisville

Botany Databases, Journals, and Websites

The databases below can help you find primary and secondary literature in the sciences. While searching, you can narrow your results to primary literature by using filters on the left of the page.

Find the complete list of biology databases, some of which have botany content, at the Biology link in our database list.