A primary source in scholarly work reports unique information, whereas a secondary source refers to content initially recorded in another source. Cite secondary sources only when the original work is out of print, inaccessible, or only available in a language you do not understand. Including page numbers helps readers find specific words on your page.
Examples of secondary sources include books, articles, interviews, and speeches. They may come from official government documents, such as reports by public agencies or congressional committees, or they may come from independent organizations that are not required by law to provide their work for free. For example, The Wall Street Journal is a newspaper that is not funded by any government entity but is still considered a secondary source because it produces original reporting on business topics. Secondary sources often include links to other resources, for example, an article in a journal that cites studies conducted by other researchers. These other studies should also be cited!
Citing secondary sources is different than citing primary sources. When you cite something that was written by someone else, you need to give them credit by including their name and the title of the piece you are referencing. You should also indicate where you found the information, for example, The Wall Street Journal. Finally, you should note whether the author's view represents those of others (i.e., objective journalism) or just him or her personally (i.e., opinion writing).
A secondary source is one that has also conducted research on the same (or comparable) issue. You will next utilize this source to describe how it connects to your major source argument. A secondary source serves as a bridge between you and the primary source. It provides additional information about the topic that the primary source did not.
Secondary sources include books, articles, interviews, and documents from organizations such as government agencies or nonprofit groups. These items of information provide details about the subject matter of your paper that only come from other people who have done more research than you have. For example, an article in a magazine or newspaper may discuss issues relating to your topic; this would be a secondary source because the author of the piece was likely conducting his own research before he wrote his story. Books often contain sections called bibliographies or appendices that list articles and other works that were used as sources for the book. These are also secondary materials.
It is important to note that secondary sources can be useful tools for researchers, but they should not be viewed as replacements for primary sources. Primary sources are records of actual events or conversations. Secondary sources are pieces of information obtained through research or examination of other materials. Papers that rely solely on secondary sources are usually not considered academic papers.
Often times students think that news articles are reliable sources because they are published by newspapers. This is incorrect.
When all other efforts for locating the original work have been explored, it is acceptable to credit a secondary source. For example, while an out-of-print book may be tough to locate, it may nevertheless be cited in current work by other writers. Perhaps the publication you're reading referred to a personal correspondence. Or perhaps they quoted from a more comprehensive work on your topic. In any case, giving credit where it's due is always appropriate.