Whenever students are given take home assignments, they are often tempted to consult some other books and online sources for topical issues written on the matter they are given. No one can out rightly do an academic work without borrowing a word or two from a previous works done on related issues; this is one of the major research sources for final year project students.

Research sources can either be classified as primary or secondary; you can get firsthand information about a research source, interpret and analyze it or rely on already made resource materials for information. Getting ideas from already made academic works and adding to your own knowledge is what makes a good research.

Primary research sources

When a researcher gathers data directly from the research population or sample, it is regarded as a primary research source; in this case, the researcher has to process and interpret the data into meaningful information the way it applies to the research; this happens in different ways which include;

Case study:  Case study under a primary research source requires that a researcher takes detailed approach towards studying a particular person, group, community or an entity. The idea behind a case study is to use the outcome of the sample study to address the whole research population. So on these bases, researchers get firsthand information because they have taken some time to study the research sample.

Survey: This is apparently the most popular method of gathering primary information in a final year projects. It involves posing constructed open or close ended questions to a research sample with expectation of responses from them. In the end, the researcher gathers the responses and take out useful informal from among them which basically forms a major part of the research finding.


Records: For undergraduates whose project topics require studying organizational documentations, newspapers and files, getting firsthand access to these files is considered primary information. The records are still raw and need to be processed to a more useful outcome; it could be figures, details, news, names as the case may be.

Interview: Just like the name implies, the researcher usually arrange for a talk session with the project sample; the questions are constructed but sometimes turns out to be follow-up questions. The interview could happen live, on phone call or via the internet. The researcher does not only have firsthand information from the interviewee, he has close contact and sometime some information about the interviewee.  


Secondary research sources

A research source can be regarded as secondary when the information is ready made, there is no need to process anything. The researcher can either quote the information source directly or paraphrase the information giving credit to the source either way; they include.


Library research / Online: All the process of gathering information from books, journal, etc. are classified under library research; it also includes borrowing knowledge from the internet. It is expected that the researcher gives due credit to the information source otherwise, it will be regarded as academic theft.


Review of existing literature: In another instance, undergraduates get additional knowledge for their research when they review research works that are related to the research topic they are working on. It could be an unpublished Ph.D work, an undergraduate project or some other research done in another institution entirely.

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