Secondary source

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A secondary source is a document or recording that writes or speaks about information that is one step removed from the original source.[1]

The secondary source depends on the primary source or original source of the information. Secondary sources interpret, evaluate or discuss information found in primary sources.[2] In historiography, a secondary source is a study written by a scholar about a topic. Secondary sources frequently cite primary sources and other secondary sources.[3] They rarely cite tertiary sources.[3]

Example[change | change source]

A secondary source would be a book on 13th century politics, while the Magna Charta itself would be a primary source.[2] Many secondary sources use extensive citations in the form of footnotes or endnotes.

Legal use[change | change source]

The main use of secondary sources in law is to explain the law.[4] They also explain legal concepts.[4] They are used to analyze and describe laws as well as comment on them.[4] Judicial decisions and opinions by qualified experts are secondary sources.[5]

Other pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Randall VanderMey et al 2014. The College writer: a guide to thinking, writing, and researching. Stamford, CT: Cengage, p. 402.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Roger Sapsford & Victor Jupp (eds) 2006. Data collection and analysis. London: SAGE, p. 142.
  3. 3.0 3.1 F. Allan Hanson 2007. The trouble with culture: how computers are calming the culture wars. Albany: State University of New York, p. 79
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Andrea B. Yelin & Hope Viner Samborn 2009. The legal research and writing handbook: a basic approach for paralegals. New York: Aspen; Austin, TX: Wolters Kluwer, p. 150.
  5. Timo Koivurova 2014. Introduction to international environmental law. Oxford; New York: Routledge, p. 60.

Further reading[change | change source]