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General Chemistry I - CHEM 103

This guide explains where you need to find background information, scholarly literature, the importance of incorporating this information into your paper, and how to cite it.

Primary Literature

Primary Literature Defined

Primary literature refers to original studies based on direct observation, use of statistical records, interviews, or experimental methods. They are authored by researchers, contain original research data, and are usually published in a peer-reviewed journal. Primary literature may also include conference papers, pre-prints of articles, or preliminary reports of original research that has been conducted. The term empirical research may also be used. 

IMRaD - common formatting for scientific research articles


Explains the scope and objective of the study and places it in the context of previously published studies on the subject (a literature review)

Materials and Methods

The what and how for conducting the study: what was used and how it was done


Reports what was found in the study, often using a lot of statistics, charts, and graphs


Explains the significance of the results and the meaning the researchers interpret from the results; often includes suggestions for further research and/or describes limitations of the study