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How do I recognize primary, secondary, and tertiary sources?

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What Are Secondary Sources?

Secondary sources

  • translate, repackage, restate, analyze, evaluate,  critique, or interpret primary sources.
  • discuss the evidence provided by primary sources.
  • are one or more steps removed from the event or information they refer to.
  • are written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.

Examples of secondary sources include

  • All nonfiction books and magazine articles except autobiography.
  • An article or website that critiques a novel, play, painting, or piece of music.
  • An article or web site that synthesizes expert opinion and several eyewitness accounts for a new understanding of an event.
  • The literature review portion of a journal article.
  • A journal article that discusses, restates, or analyzes a study or other original research.

ResearchMinute Video: Secondary Sources

Watch this video to learn about secondary sources.

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