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Primary Sources/Secondary Sources: Secondary Sources

What is a Secondary Source?

Secondary sources analyze primary sources, using primary source materials to answer research questions.  Secondary sources may analyze, criticize, interpret or summarize data from primary sources. The most common secondary resources are books, journal articles, or reviews of the literature. Secondary sources may also be primary sources. For example if someone studies the nature of literary criticism in the 19th century then a literary critque from the 19th century becomes a primary resource.

Secondary Source Examples

 Disciplines

 Secondary source examples

 Anthropology, Archaeology

 Reviews of the literature, critical interpretations of scholarly studies

 Communications, Journalism

 Interpretive journal articles, books and blogs about the communications industry.

 Education, Political Science, Public Policy

 Reviews of the literature, critical interpretations of scholarly studies

 Fine Arts

 Critical interpretations of art and artists—biographies, reviews, recordings of live performances

 History

 Interpretive journal articles and books

 Language and Literature

 Literary criticism, biographies, reviews, text books

 Psychology, Sociology, Economics

 Reviews of the literature, critical interpretations of scholarly studies

 Sciences

 Publications about the significance of research or experiments

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