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Primary Sources Guide

Theses and Disserations

Masters theses and doctoral dissertations explain in detail the research conducted to earn a degree. Information from a thesis or dissertation may later be condensed and republished into one or more journal articles.


Patents contain information about new products or processes which have been protected by the creator under patent law. The format and language can be very different from academic sources, but new information published in patents is usually not shared in journal articles.

  • Google Patents: A searchable database of patents and applications from many countries including Canada, with a familiar interface.
  • Canadian Patents Database: Search for full-text Canadian patents from 1869 to the present.
  • Espacenet: Patents from over 90 countries, including Canada.
  • U.S. Patent Databases: Search for U.S. patents and applications from 1790 to the present.

For more information about patents and patent searching, see the Queen's University guide Patents and Designs.

Technical Reports

Some research results - especially government research - are published as a technical report, which is usually not peer reviewed. Some technical reports might be re-published in academic journals that are available in library databases. Other reports might be considered "grey literature" because they are not officially published, but you may find them online.