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Tutt Library Research Guides


FG306/353: History of Sex: Traditions & Modernity (HY307/308): Secondary Sources

Course guide for conducting research for History of Sex.

What is a Secondary Source?

Recognizing Secondary Sources

"Secondary sources were created by someone who did not experience first-hand or participate in the events or conditions you’re researching. For a historical research project, secondary sources are generally scholarly books and articles.

A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may contain pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources."

--Harvard Library Research Guide: History of Science: Introduction. Accessed 4/10/2017

Types of Secondary Sources

  • Monographs (Books)
  • Journal articles
  • Textbooks
  • Reference works
  • Criticism and commentaries
  • Reviews

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Evaluating Secondary Sources

"Evaluation of sources is essential to scholarly research. Consider the following when looking for reliable secondary sources:

  • Who is the author? Are they a scholar in the field?
  • Was the book/ journal published by a scholarly publisher?
  • What is the purpose of the text or motive for writing it?
  • Does the writer have an obvious bias?
  • Does the book/ article have an extensive bibliography?
  • What are the primary sources referred to by the author?
  • What secondary sources are used by the author?
  • Does the text have citations enabling you to check the author's sources."

University of Western Australia Library. Primary sources: Secondary sources Accessed 4/10/2017

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