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Michigan State University

MC 281: Immigrants, Minorities & American Pluralism

Dr. Susan Stein-Roggenbuck | Spring 2022

What are secondary sources?

Secondary sources are materials which provide an interpretation, analysis or discussion of information originally presented elsewhere. This is in contrast to primary materials which provide first-hand evidence. What counts as a secondary source depends heavily on the topic you are writing about and the discipline you are working within.

Scholarly articles are a common type of secondary source:

  • These are written by experts and scholars, and reviewed by other scholars in the same field (peer review)
  • They are published in journals which usually are focused on one topic (example: American Studies is a journal focused on American culture)
  • They provide in-depth analysis on a specific topic (often quite narrow!)
  • They can be used to help you build an argument in a research paper

Article Databases

Michigan State University