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History: Find Secondary Sources

Welcome to the library guide for history research at the University of Alabama.

Find Secondary Sources

Secondary sources can be books, journal articles, and other kinds of materials.  Please choose from the following:

Primary vs. Secondary Game

Play this question-and-answer game to learn the differences between primary and secondary sources! (it's not for a grade, just for fun and learning)

What are Secondary Sources?

Secondary sources are materials created by a person who was not at the event but who analyzed or commented on primary sources at a later time.  Secondary sources include scholarly journals articles, books, and class lectures.  Secondary sources usually have bibliographies of primary sources, a formal writing style, and a critical approach. 

For example, let's say you are writing a paper about the battle of Normandy (D-Day) in World War II:

Examples of secondary sources would include:

--a 2007 book discussing the tactics of the battle, written by a historian who wasn’t actually at the battle

--a recent journal article analyzing the generals

--a video or movie showing a reenactment of the battle

--a book by an author who draws on hundreds of other sources about the battle, rather than sharing her or his personal experience

--a web site that offers current discussions of World War II