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English 10: Step 4: Secondary Sources & Explanatory Bibliography


Locate and review secondary sources (critical essays, literary reviews, etc.) that pertain to your author and/or the work(s) you have chosen. You will be using some, and perhaps all of the secondary sources you consult as support for your own discussion. These sources will need to be documented, so be sure to keep track of bibliographic information. You will complete an explanatory bibliography of these sources, in which you summarize their content and potential usefulness to your paper.

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What are secondary sources?

As you conclude the reading of your primary source, you should spend the bulk of your time looking for, documenting, and reviewing secondary sources written about your primary source:

  • critical and analytical essays,
  • book reviews,
  • author interviews, etc

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Many college libraries subscribe to a wide variety of academic journals, which contain academic articles published by university professors. Some of the citations you find may require you to look in academic journals. If you find that an article you need is contained in an academic journal, speak with our librarians about getting a copy of the source through interlibrary loan. Remember, reference librarians are your friends throughout this process.

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