When gathering information from any source via any method, it will always associate itself with one of the three information brackets.
Primary information is information gathered from the source, where you are the mediator. Seeing things for yourself is always going to be one of the best ways to source vast amounts of information, but even if primary information is considered “The purest”, it isn’t necessarily considered the most informative. If you see a bomb go off in the street, you are an eye witness account on the visuals of the bomb, and your own experiences of fear or desperation. This is not a reliable source of where the bomb originated, why it was planted or when it was planted. In a visual sense however, primary information will always be the best source of information regarding emotion or opinions – and even though asking someone for information is sometimes considered Secondary information, when they are telling you opinions on things or are showing you emotionally, this is also considered Primary because you are witnessing this outgoing information, but might have some unreliability (because it is someone else.)
Secondary information is the gathering of information that as been processed and delivered via the use of Magazines, Newspapers or journals. The reason we name this “Secondary” is because the method of development is that it’s scripted and written in a certain way. We have no way of knowing if they are withholding information or emphasizing a certain point, and therefore usually prioritize primary over secondary. However, because Secondary can also be the accumulation of information from other sources, a “Clearer” picture can be created. A good example of this is to reference to Titanic. Those who were involved in the unfortunate incident will always have a clear recollection of the visuals, sounds and general senses from the event. But a secondary source will have the ability to explain the event itself in more detail. Primary information is often very opinionated and emotional, because it is direct – but Secondary is very informative and broad, and doesn’t necessarily delve into the specifics of emotion. Mixing the two often makes for the best accounts of research and articles, because you have the ability to mix both Primary research of eye witness accounts, along with secondary research to back those eye witnesses with factual data on the situation.
Tertiary information isn’t really referred to, but is worth mentioning. Tertiary information’s best example would be Wikipedia. They are sources which compile or digest other sources, and Dictionaries and Encyclopedias can also be included within this bracket. Usually, these sources are not considered “Legitimate” because of the nature of the information and its “Open Source”.