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ENG 24 Prof. Jennifer Oliveri (Winter 2023)

What are Secondary Sources?

Secondary sources provide an analysis or interpretation of primary sources. Secondary sources often quote, explain, or otherwise use primary sources. 

Keep in mind that primary sources are the original, raw materials of history. They are original documents, media, and objects that were created at the time under study. Primary sources share original thinking and new information. 

Examples of secondary sources can include (but are not limited to):

  • most books (including biographies, histories, literary criticism) and textbooks
  • scholarly articles or other articles that interpret or review research (do not present original research)
  • political analysis
  • documentaries
  • newspaper articles
  • videos
  • photographs
  • art work

This information is adapted from:,interviews%2C%20autobiographies%2C%20and%20correspondence.

Video on Understanding Primary & Secondary Sources