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HONR 204, Society and Connections

What is Secondary Literature in the Social Sciences?

A secondary source is typically a scholarly book, journal article, or report.  Secondary literature interprets, analyzes, and/or comments on primary sources (such as data and statistics).

Examples of Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary Source Secondary Source
U.S. Census Bureau (1961). 1960 Census: Population, Vol. I. Characteristics of the Population. Retrieved August 9, 2018, from

 National Cancer Institute (n.d.). SEER*Explorer Application. Retrieved August 9, 2018, from

Harrison, R. A., Haque, A. U., Roseman, J. M., & Soong, S. J. (1998). Socioeconomic characteristics and melanoma incidence. Annals of Epidemiology, 8(5), 327–333.
LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg. (n.d.). Retrieved August 10, 2018, from 
Brady, D., & Burroway, R. (2012). Targeting, universalism, and single-mother poverty: A multilevel analysis across 18 affluent democracies. Demography, 49(2), 719–746.


Locating Secondary Literature in the Social Sciences