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Lehigh University Libraries - Library Guides

HIST 137: Coming to America: Global Migration and the History of Multiethnic America

What is a secondary source?

Secondary sources analyze, describe, discuss, or summarize primary sources. In general, a secondary source is one or more steps removed from the event, time period, or person being discussed, and are written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. Secondary sources can include:

  • Biographies
  • Reference sources like dictionaries or encyclopedias
  • Literature reviews
  • Works of criticism or interpretation as in many scholarly articles

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Watch the video below to learn more about searching in ASA: the online library catalog.

Search for Articles


  • Cover numerous topics
  • May contain multiple types of sources (e.g. popular, trade, scholarly)
  • Audience = educated readership


View the video below for tips on searching for articles.


  • Pertain to a particular discipline
  • Often contain scholarly sources, known as peer-reviewed articles
  • Articles are written and reviewed by experts in the field
  • Academic audience
  • Showcase original research