Primary and Secondary Resources
A primary source is firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning
a topic under investigation. Primary resources are generally articles
that appear in peer-reviewed journals and are found primarily by searching
Secondary sources are summaries and analyses of the evidence derived
from and based on primary sources. A secondary source is a work that appraises,
interprets or analyzes. It is generally at least one step
removed from the evidence. Secondary resources available on the
Resource Page include Clinical Evidence, ACP Journal Club, and Cochrane
If you have a choice, you may make better use of your time by searching
first in secondary resources. Provided you trust the organization
producing the resource (e.g. The American College of Physicians), you
can rely on their judgment regarding the critical analysis of the studies.
Another benefit of some secondary resources (e.g. Clinical Evidence)
is that you will be able to rely on the results of several studies instead
of just the one reported in a primary report.