Each academic discipline has a body of periodicals, books (monographs), guidelines, handbooks, and manuals that together constitutes the knowledge base of the field. This body of scholarly work is made up of several distinct types of literature.
Primary literature: literature that represents the discovery of, or quest for, new knowledge, as represented by reports of original research studies.
Secondary literature: literature that reviews or indexes the primary literature. Examples include review articles, yearbooks, and journal article databases such as MEDLINE and CINAHL.
Tertiary literature: literature that provides a general summary of knowledge in the discipline, such as encyclopedias, handbooks, and textbooks.
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2. Watson JD, Crick FH. Molecular structure of nucleic acids; a structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid. Nature. 1953;171(4356):737-738.