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CMHL1000: Primary sources

Foundations for Professional Health Practice

What is a primary source?


For your assignment, you will be required to use primary sources.


A primary source provides a first hand account of a topic. They provide the original information on which other research is based, and enable students and other researchers to get as close as possible to what happened during a particular event or experience. These sources include a range of materials.


However, for this unit, you will only need to find the following types of primary sources:             


  • Journal articles reporting new research findings
  • Government documents e.g. reports
  • Statistics


Note: Journal articles can be both primary or secondary sources. Original research articles that provide a detailed account of research activity, written by the scientists/researcher who conducted the research, are considered primary sources.


More information on primary sources can be found in the  Finding Information guide - Specific resources - Primary Sources.


Where can I find primary sources?


Primary sources can be found in a number of places.


Library Catalogue and Databases


Many primary sources can be found in the Curtin Library Catalogue and databases. It is important to note that the catalogue and databases do not display primary sources in an identifiable category. You will need to perform a search on your topic, then use the filters available in the catalogue and databases (e.g under Resource Type) to limit your search to specific types of primary source material (e.g journal articles, books, book chapters, reports etc.).




Google can also be a good place for finding primary sources such as government reports, statistics, or reports of non-governmental organisations. When you perform a search on Google, try using keywords from your topic and specify the filetype or type of website you are interested in finding. For example: 


  • "heart disease" Australia filetype:pdf
  • "health funding" Australia