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Ottoman Studies

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What is Secondary Source?

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Secondary sources were created by someone who did not experience first-hand or participate in the events or conditions.  They can cover same topic with the primary sources but they describe, discuss, interpret, comment upon, analyze, evaluate, summarize first-hand accounts means primary sources. Through the generalization, synthesis, interpretation, commentary or evaluation, secondary sources aim to convince the reader of the author’s argument. Secondary sources also provides bibliography on research and notes on the primary sources .

According to Michael J. Galgano secondary sources provide historians, both experienced and beginning, with two very important types of information:  secondary sources are useful in providing background information about a topic and they help to provide historical context.

Doing History; Researching and Writing in the Digital Age.  2nd ed. Michael J. Galgano, J. Chris Arndt, Raymond M. Hyser. 2008. Wadsworth. pp. 5-6.

Types of secondary source include:

  • Journal articles that comment on or analyze research
  • Textbooks that interpret or analyze primary sources
  • Dictionaries and encyclopedias
  • Political commentary
  • Biographies
  • dissertations
  • Newspaper editorial
  • Criticism and commentaries of  literature, art works or music

Ottoman Empire Oxford Bibliographies