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History : Secondary Source Types

This guide is intended for all those studying history and related disciplines.

About Secondary Sources

Secondary sources describe, discuss, interpret, comment upon, analyze, evaluate, summarize, and process primary sources. They are  generally one or more steps removed from a primary source, event, or time period. Produced after the fact, secondary sources are second-hand accounts which provide hindsight into the past. Often, secondary sources will contain fragments, quotes, pictures, or other forms of original primary source material. Examples of secondary sources include, but are not limited to, reference books, scholarly articles, books, commentaries, textbooks, and reviews (of books, films, art, etc.). Further descriptions of common source types are provided below.

Remember, whether a source is primary or secondary is often determined by how you intend to use it. For an overview of source types, visit Primary & Secondary Sources


Journal Articles

Newspaper Articles


Finding Secondary Sources

Visit Finding Secondary Sources to learn more about where to find different types of secondary sources.