What's a secondary source?


A secondary source analyzes a primary source.

Many scholarly journal articles and books (except works of fiction and memoirs/autobiographies) are secondary sources. For example, a journal article that presents the scientific findings of an experiment is a primary source while a magazine article that talks about the findings of that journal article would be a secondary source.

The differences between primary and secondary sources can be nuanced and can depend on how a source is being used by a researcher.  Watch the video to get more information on these two types of sources and where their identification can be complicated.


  • Last Updated Jun 06, 2024
  • Views 442
  • Answered By Johanna MacKay

FAQ Actions

Was this helpful? 0 0

Contact Us

One-On-One Consultations

Schedule an appointment using our Research Help Request form.

You can also email your subject librarian to schedule an in-person or Zoom appointment.


Research Help Desk

July 2nd - August 2nd

Monday - Friday: 10:00am-12:30pm

When a librarian is not at the Research Help desk, please stop by the Circulation desk to be connected with an available librarian in the building.