What is a Secondary Source?

A secondary source is a description, analysis or recounting of a primary source.

Examples of historical secondary sources include but are not limited to:

  • Biographical works
  • Reference books such as dictionaries and encyclopedias
  • Articles and newspapers recounting events
  • Literature reviews

Find Secondary Sources in the Library

To find secondary sources in the library, go to our How to Do Library Research guide.

Note! General Education courses may not require the use of peer-reviewed articles from the last five years, like in your health courses. You can use eBooks, newspaper articles, magazines or materials from reputable publishers like professional organizations or government websites. Always make sure to check the assignment rubric to see which type of source is acceptable.

Keywords and Phrases

Below is a list of recommended topic keywords and phrases that you can use in your search. The capital AND tells the search system to search for both keywords or phrases. Although you will have to capitalize the connector words, like the AND, the keywords and phrases are not case sensitive. The quotation marks tell the search system to search for the exact phrase instead of just the individual words. Example history topic searches:

  • exploration AND native americans
  • colonial america AND new england colonies
  • colonial america AND middle colonies
  • colonial america AND southern colonies
  • slavery
  • "american revolution"
  • "early republic"
  • sectionalism AND "old south"
  • "civil war"
  • "great depression" AND "new deal"
  • globalization AND technology