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

Finding Secondary Sources in the Library

To find secondary sources in the library, see our Learn to Search guide.

Note! General Education courses like history 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 scholarly 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. The quotation marks tell the search system to search for the exact phrase instead of just the individual words. 

  • 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"
  • Reconstruction
  • "World War I"
  • "World War II"
  • "Great Depression" AND "New Deal"
  • "Cold War"
  • Vietnam
  • "Civil Rights Movement"
  • "Women's Rights Movement"
  • Globalization AND technology