Secondary Literature Overview Bio14


Definition

Secondary literature includes books, annual reviews, textbooks, and some periodicals. These sources differ from reference materials in at least one important way: secondary sources, like reference materials, may answer factual questions; however, they also present background information and summarize results of scientific work so that you can read the full range of thinking on a particular topic. Secondary literature does not present the most current scientific information, which is found in primary literature.

Articles in science periodicals such as Discover and Science News are considered secondary literature because they don't present the results of original research, instead such articles synthesize and summarize descriptions of previous scientific work--which makes secondary literature very useful for you.

Why Use Secondary Literature?

Use annual reviews, textbooks, review articles in science periodicals, and books on scientific topics to gain detailed knowledge of a field, to learn about the historical development of a concept, and to become familiar with major researchers in an area of science. The secondary literature sources list gives just a few of the titles of this sort available in the library. You can find more secondary sources by using the Tufts Online Catalog, finding a relevant source, and then browsing the book stacks in the call number area where you located the first relevant source. Bibliographies in reference materials may also point you to secondary sources.


Continue to Secondary Literature Sources.