Primary research is crucial in presenting a paper or other research data. Primary sources are those based on original data produced by people actually involved in the subject you are researching. Examples would be census data, interviews, surveys, bookkeeping records, etc. Secondary sources are things like biographies, newspaper articles or textbooks in which others are reporting on the primary research material, so you are using someone else's interpretation of the data. There are several reasons why you should use primary research in developing your work.

Strengthening Your Work

Primary sources will provide you with the materials to let you build your own theories. Whether you are presenting a paper for a freshman class or you are defending your graduate thesis, primary sources help to validate your assertions. If you are a graduate student you will certainly be required to conduct primary source research, since the use of only secondary sources will make your work seem like a regurgitation of someone else's research.

More Impressive/Accurate

A direct quote or observation from a person living in the time, place or situation you are researching will tend to be more impressive when compared with a quote from a secondary source. Students too often only conduct a very basic review of information before writing a paper, and it is evident to the instructor when he is reading papers. While finding reliable Internet and secondary sources is often necessary for a paper requiring 10 or more sources, including primary sources will improve your paper and your understanding of the subject, and it lessens the chance of getting the information wrong.

Promotes Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is required to render an opinion on what a primary source is actually saying. Students who delve into primary sources get closest to the thinking of the writer of the document. They can sometimes discover something unexpected or new to add to the body of knowledge surrounding a particular subject. You may even uncover evidence of mistakes that experts in the field made. Merely working from or quoting secondary sources only gives you the conclusions that are drawn by others.