Alexander the Great

RESEARCH, MEET ANALYSIS: HOW TO USE SECONDARY SOURCES

Unlike primary sources, secondary sources examine a time period through a particular lens and often make new discoveries or examine new ideas about a historical event. Scholars who produce secondary source material did not experience the events directly.

1 LOOK FOR INSIGHTFUL COMMENTS

Will these comments help support and develop your own ideas? BE CAREFUL: don't crowd yourself out of your own paper by allowing secondary sources to take over. Just a little salt and pepper to spice up and back up your own ideas.

2 AVOID CITING RETELLINGS + OBVIOUS IDEAS

Do not cite a secondary source if it only retells events from your primary source. Use the primary source instead.

3 QUOTE APPROPRIATELY

Use short, insightful quotes. Integrate them into your own thoughts seamlessly.

4 KEEP QUOTES IN CONTEXT

Don't pluck an author's ideas and words out of the greater context of their work. Convey the same meaning as the writer when you use their work--remember, you are borrowing!

5 PRIMARY SOURCE IS PRIMARY

Your main source of support should be the primary source itself (the play, story, poem, or other text that is the subject of your paper). USE THAT THE MOST.

6 SUPPORTING SOURCES ARE SECONDARY

Always remember: your paper should MOSTLY be your ideas and quotes from the original texts. As a rule of thumb: no more than 20% of your paper should be supported with secondary sources.

LIBRARY SOURCES


EBSCO DISCOVERY

Access to scholarly articles, primary sources, and ebooks (at home u/p: cswlibrary / research)

JSTOR

Scholarly articles in the humanities (at home u/p: cswlibrary / research)

PROJECT MUSE

Scholarly articles; on campus use only

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PERSEUS DIGITAL LIBRARY @ TUFTS