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Candice Dahl, Liason Librarian

Secondary Sources

What is the difference between a primary and secondary source?

In literature, I would say that the primary source is the text that you are reading, the work of literature, such as your novel, or your poem, or your play. What a lot of research papers require is that you find secondary sources, and that is the body of scholarship that is written about the primary source. So, that might mean that you're looking for a journal article, that you're looking for a book about a novel, or a poet, or a play. So, the secondary sources are those things that have been written about the primary source: that text that you're reading in your classes, in most cases.