What are "secondary sources"?

Secondary sources comment on, collect, review, analyze, explain or interpret primary sources.  Remember that not all secondary sources are scholarly.

Examples

Discipline Primary Source Secondary Source
History Letters written by a historical figure A journal article explaining why the letters are important
Literature A poem A biography of the author that quotes from the poem as an example of his/her work
Medicine An empirical study about the effects of physical activity on childhood obesity A systematic review article about childhood obesity that mentions the study
Kinesiology An empirical study comparing the lunch function of endurance athletes and bodybuilders A blog post about what the results of this study means for practicing bodybuilders
Sociology An interview study where teenagers talked about their use of mobile technology A news report about the study's findings
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