AFR 300: Rebel Ecologies: Secondary Sources

Types of secondary sources in this class

You may find the following types of secondary sources useful for this class:

  • Books/Collections of Essays
  • Journal Articles
  • Bibliographies
  • Book Reviews

Librarians in Research Services can help you find secondary sources relevant to your project or research topic.

Research Tip: Find Text Button

The Find Text Button

Many of our databases have this SFX Find Text Button button, which searches for the full-text of the article in our collections. If we don't have it electronically, look for the "Request article scan" link in the "Get It" section.

screenshot of Get It section with link

What are Secondary Sources?

Secondary sources interpret or analyze primary sources. Thus, they are a step removed from the event or original text. Examples of secondary sources include:

  • Articles from journals
  • Articles from magazines
  • Articles from edited collections
  • Biographies
  • Book reviews
  • Documentary films
  • Essays in anthologies
  • Literary criticism
  • Popular press books
  • Scholarly books

How you use a source determines whether it is a primary source or secondary source. If you are analyzing a magazine article from the 1940s to talk about what life was like during that time period, it is a primary source. However, if you are citing information from a magazine article written today about the 1940s, then it is a secondary source.

Finding Articles

To find articles on a topic, there are several possible approaches. Click the plus sign to learn about each option.

  • Advantages
    • Subject-specific databases focus on the literature of the field, leading to more relevant and comprehensive results
    • Advanced search functions allow for more precise searching
    • Using the Find Text button leads to free full text provided through library subscriptions and interlibrary loan
  • Disadvantages
    • Need to use search syntax and functions of the database for best results; article databases do not search like Google

This guide provides links to article databases recommended for your course. See also the full list of article databases.

  • Advantages
    • Can search for books and articles at the same time
    • Links to free full text provided through library subscriptions and interlibrary loan
  • Disadvantages
    • Does not have as many options as an article database for refining search results
    • Does not include all the content from all of the library's article databases

Search the library catalog from the search box on the library home page, through the search widget embedded in research guides, or through this link.

  • ​​Advantages
    • Can help you see what topics are important in the field
    • Finds quality articles from a respected source
  • Disadvantages
    • Can be difficult to find an article on your specific topic
    • Literature found will not be as comprehensive as searching in article databases, which cover hundreds of journals

Hint: Most article databases have a "Journal Title" search field or limit, so you can use these search functions to narrow your more comprehensive search results to these recommended titles.

  • ​Advantages
    • Easy to search; does not require special search syntax
    • Can search across many subject disciplines at one time
    • Usually finds something on any topic
  • Disadvantages
    • Difficult​ to refine search results; not as precise as searching in article databases
    • Does not contain all of the articles found in library subscription article databases
    • Need to evaluate the articles more carefully, especially ones found through general Google searches
    • May run into a paywall to access the full text of the article

Hint: Enable the Find Text link in your Google Scholar settings or search for the article in the library catalog when you hit a paywall.