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The Exercise Sciences: Resource Types & Values

This guide presents resources and tips useful for students in an Exercise Science course. There is also basic information about places to find statistics, images, and maps.

Resource Type: How to know which one is the right one for my research project

Jumping into a database can be daunting.  It is important to know what you are looking at and how to evaluate its content.  This page will breakdown concepts to remove the mystery and clarify various terms...

Source Types

Primary Sources:  Original material on which other research is based.  These include:

  1. orginal written works - poems, diaries, court records, interviews, surverys, photographs, or articles of clothing
  2. orginial research/fieldwork, and research published in scholarly/academic journals

Secondary Sources:  Material that describes or analyzes primary sources.  These include: 

  1. reference material (dictionaries, encyclopedias, textbooks)
  2. books and articles that interpret, review, or synthesize original research/fieldwork

Tertiary Sources:  Material used to organize and locate secondary and primary sources.  These include:

  1. Indexes (provide citation that fully identify a work with informaiton such as author, titlesof a book, artile, and/or journal, publisher and publicationi date, volume and issue number and page numbers)
  2. Abstracts (summarize the primary or secondary sources), and databases (online indexes that usually include abstracts for each primary or secondary resource, and may also include a digital copy of the resource) 

Qualitative vs Quanitative


Quantitative data is information that you can measure. It’s numbers –something you can count. Because it’s countable it can be reliable evidence. Examples include:

  • How many people took part?
  • How much did it cost?
  • How long did it run for?
  • Average attendance at each programme session?


Qualitative data is information about qualities, you can’t count it. That is, it’s information about how people feel about something. Examples include:

  • Sharing what people like about a programme.
  • How they think it could be improved.
  • What difference it has made to their lives.
  • Whether they would recommend the programme to others.

Retrieved from:

Pyramid of Evidence


Article Types

1. Original research: These are detailed studies reporting original research and are classified as primary literature. They include hypothesis, background study, methods, results, interpretation of findings, and a discussion of possible implications.

2. Review article: Review articles provide a critical and constructive analysis of existing published literature in a field, through summary, analysis, and comparison, often identifying specific gaps or problems and providing recommendations for future research.  These are considered as secondary literature since they generally do not present new data from the author's experimental work. Review articles can be of three types, broadly speaking: literature reviews, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses. 

3. Clinical case study: Clinical case studies present the details of real patient cases from medical or clinical practice. The cases presented are usually those that contribute significantly to the existing knowledge on the field. The study is expected to discuss the signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of a disease.  These are considered primary literature. 

4. Clinical trial: Once again, specific to the field of medicine, clinical trials describe the methodology, implementation, and results of controlled studies, usually undertaken with large patient groups.  Clinical trials also require practical work experience, as well as, high standards of ethics and reliability.

5. Methodologies or Methods: These articles present a new experimental method, test, or procedure.  The method described may either be completely new, or may offer a better verison of an existing method.  The article should describe a demonstrable advance on what is currently available.

6. Perspective, opinion, and commentary: Perspective pieces are scholarly reviews of fundamental concepts or prevalent ideas in a field. These are usually essays that present a personal point of view critiquing widespread notions pertaining to a field.  A perspective piece can be a review of a single concept or a few related concepts. These are considered as secondary literature. 

7. Book review: Book reviews are published in most academic journals. The aim of a book review is to provide insight and opinion on recently published scholarly books.

Majumder, Kakoli. (2015). 6 Article types that journals publish: A guide for early career researchers. Editage Insights

Types of journal articles. (2020). Springer Nature. Retrieved from:

Beware! Not all resources are created ==EQUAL==

Identifying Predatory Journals

Beall's List

Cabell's Blacklist

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)


Wikipedia is a No, No!

"Wikipedia Founder Discourages Academic Use of His Creation"

Campus, W. (2006). Wikipedia founder discourages academic use of his creation. Chronicle of Higher Education.

Source Evaluation

Evaluating Websites

  • Accuracy. If your page lists the author and institution that published the page and provides a way of contacting him/her, and
  • Authority. If your page lists the author credentials and its domain is preferred (.edu, .gov, .org, or .net), and
  • Objectivity. If your page provides accurate information with limited advertising, and it is objective in presenting the information, and
  • Currency. If your page is current and updated regularly (as stated on the page) and the links (if any) are also up-to-date, and
  • Coverage. If you can view the information properly (not limited by fees, browser technology, or special software requirements), then you may have a Web page of research value.

Content used and adapted with the permission of the author, Jim Kapoun. Citation: "Teaching undergrads WEB evaluation: A guide for library instruction." C&RL News (July/August 1998): 522-523