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FYS: Climate Change

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Secondary sources are published materials that examine or describe something else, usually something original.  Those original materials are called primary sources and they cover a wide variety of objects, including:

  • original research data 
  • survey responses
  • photographs
  • poems
  • works of art
  • public speeches
  • objects from nature

Secondary sources are published in a variety of formats.  This is what you need to look for: 

So how do you find secondary sources?  Using library resources, that's how!

People have been publishing for mass consumption on paper since 1440 with the invention of the printing press.  That means there's a LOT of resources at your disposal.  How do you sift through it all?  Practice these tips to narrow down the number of results you get when researching.

  • identify the best database to use (OneSearch is a great place to start)
  • use appropriate language (look at subject words in article records for ideas)
    • scientific jargon produces more scientific results
    • common language produces mixed results with some social science flavor
  • combine subject and keywords using the "advanced search" feature in databases
  • select "peer review" or "scholarly" to limit results.  If you want to include newspaper and magazine articles in your results, select those content type options.
  • add location, population, specific species, or time period keywords to further narrow your results
  • WHAT are you looking for?  If your search produces thousands of results, your topic is still too broad!