When you conduct research, you find both primary and secondary sources getting used. Scholars need to know the distinction between the two very clearly so that they are able to use them in an appropriate fashion.
First let us understand what is a primary source? As the name itself is suggestive, it is the original document that has been created at the time when the study was taking place and the by the person who has the direct knowledge of the situation. There can be a lot of examples that can apply in primary sources: personal documents, documents from different research studies, original documents, artificial work etc.
The greatest use of primary sources is found in the study of historical facts as they are the proofs of the opinions of the people who have experienced the situation exactly in the past. There is a major flaw or drawback we may call is associated with primary sources and that is that primary sources contain biases and prejudices. You must keep this in mind, as a researcher or writer when you refer this in your manuscript.
A secondary source is on the other end of the continuum does the task of generalising, analysing, interpreting, synthesising, analysing or even discussing the original source under study. There can be many ways of secondary sources. The key ones can be different publications such as books, magazines, records, historical documents, book reviews and peer reviewed articles.
A study of both primary and secondary sources helps in better understanding of the topic. However, like the drawbacks associated with primary sources, there are drawbacks associated with secondary sources also. The information in the secondary source can be inaccurate, vague or sometimes insufficient. In addition, secondary sources can also have biases. Whenever researchers use secondary sources, they need to be all the more sure to check the information from reliable sources for authenticity.
Who has created the source is always more important than whether the source is primary or secondary. The best research is the one that uses the perfect blend of both primary as well as secondary sources so that the reader gets a more in-depth understanding of the topic under study in a holistic as well as comprehensive manner and the document in itself becomes a reliable medium of study as well as any kind of reference in the future.