Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Return to Library Homepage

Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Sources: What is a Secondary Source?

What are Secondary Sources?

Secondary sources:

  • analyze past conditions or events
  • frame a condition or event within a greater context
  • interpret and discuss primary sources
  • summarize information about a topic based upon primary sources

Secondary sources are often produced in the months and years following an event.

Secondary Sources as Primary Sources

In some cases, a secondary source may serve as primary source due to the research context.  

  • A book review article can analyze and interpret a secondary source book.  The book review is the secondary source and the book is the primary source.
  • Newspaper articles and documentaries may include first hand accounts, interviews, images and original footage  which serve as primary sources.
  • A secondary source book or article written in a specific time period may reflect viewpoints from that time that an author can interpret and analyze as primary source information.

Search Fox Hunt 2.0 to find secondary sources

Fox Hunt

Fox Hunt LogoFox Hunt


Search the Library databases and the catalog

Example Secondary Sources from the Library