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BUAD 425 Canadian Government Policy and Business

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are:

  • Contemporary accounts of an event in their original documentation
  • Examples could be:
    • diaries
    • letters
    • memoirs
    • journals
    • speeches
    • manuscripts
    • interviews
    • photgraphs

Examples of Primary Sources in Business

  • NASDAQ Stock Quotes
  • Record of Organization
  • Government Documents
  • Maps
  • Photographs
  • Census Statistics
  • Annual Report for a Company
  • Financial Ledgers
  • Business Reports

What are Secondary Sources?

Secondary sources are used to:

  • interpret
  • assign value
  • draw conclusions
  • criticize
  • evaluate

A secondary source is always at least one step removed from event or time period that is being written about. Ask yourself these questions to determine if a source is secondary...

  • What is the publication date on my source, is it right when the event took place or was it written after, looking back on it?
  • Were other sources used and referenced in my source?
  • Is it summarizing, evaluating or synthesizing information from other sources?

Examples of Secondary Sources in Business

  • Historical stock analysis
  • Book about a company or industry
  • Journal article about census trends
  • Magazine article
  • Newspaper article

One more example...

Example: Effect of minimum wage on unemployment

1) A magazine article reporting on recent studies linking the minimum wage to higher unemployment would be a secondary source

2) A research article proving that minimum wage is linked to unemployment with supporting data collected for that study by the researcher would be a primary source

3) If you are looking at how the media presents the effect of minimum wage on unemployment, newspaper article could be used as a primary source

Okay maybe one more...

The exact policy (if you are doing a policy focused paper) you are using to frame your paper would be a primary source, anything written about that policy in terms of analysis, interpretation, conclusions drawn, criticism etc. would be a secondary source.

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