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.
Link to CSU Home
Link to CSU Home
Students in the Library

Michael Schwartz Library

Students in the Connection Lounge
Michael Schwartz Library

HIS 299: Introduction to Historical Studies

A guide for students conducting research in HIS 299.

What is a secondary source?

secondary source is a source about an event, person, or place, usually based on the analysis or interpretation of primary source materials. Examples include academic articles and books. Keep in mind that a secondary source could be a primary source depending on your research focus. For example, a book about U.S. history written in the 1950s is a secondary source, unless you are studying how history was studied in the 1950s, in which case the book becomes a primary source.

Secondary sources can be useful in tracking down primary sources, and they also can help provide a context for the primary sources you use. For these reasons, you may want to find some secondary sources as you conduct your research for your DBQ.

Primary, secondary, and tertiary source chart

Chart from Loyola Marymount University's Primary Sources Research Guide.