On this page, you'll learn:
what secondary sources are and what they look like in different disciplines
where to find secondary sources
how to use secondary sources
additional tips to help you identify whether a source is secondary
Secondary sources are about primary sources and provide analysis, commentary, or discussion.
Like primary sources, secondary sources may look different depending on your discipline. For example:
|In STEM & medical fields||In the humanities & social sciences|
|book reviews||substantive & scholarly articles|
|systematic review articles||scholarly books|
|survey articles||reviews of books, art, theater & music|
|quantitative meta-analysis articles||newspaper articles that interpret rather than report on an event|
Secondary sources can easily be found using the search box on the library home page or in the library databases. For example:
Need assistance using the VCU Libraries search box or databases? Visit:
When your professor asks you to use secondary sources in your writing, you are being asked to quote, paraphrase, and incorporate them in the following ways:
1. Identifying a secondary source is all about the context of your research topic.
2. Check the source's references.