Using Secondary Sources for Your Essays

There are mainly two types of sources which are used for writing a term papers, research papers or essays. These sources are named as primary sources and secondary sources. A secondary source is a discussion or explanation of the primary source, which is referred to the actual article or topic on which the essay will be written. There are several types of secondary sources are used such as research papers, journals, reviews, meta-analysis, graphs etc. Sometimes autobiographies can also be used as a secondary source for a particular topic. There are certain points which have to be kept on mind while writing an essay using secondary sources. Some of those are as follows.

  • Documentation: Documentation is very important when a piece of writing or argument was used in an essay as a secondary source. Failure to this can lead to committing an act of plagiarism which is known to be the unacknowledged use of a person’s work. Mentioning the name of the person with other relative details of the documents from which the quotations’ are taken is necessary. As for example if someone is using a part of speech given by swami Vivekananda on 1893 at Chicago, he or she must acknowledged that as “swami Vivekananda (1893) Chicago” in his or her writing.
  • Over dependence on secondary sources: An essay is always meant for helping the students to gather some essential knowledge in certain fields and to encourage them to build their abilities of expressing ideas with a touch of coherent argument. It is possible when an essay contains a brief discussion about a topic combining with the appropriate reference of a scholar’s work about the same. An essay only paraphrases discussions or materials from secondary source, is called a report which might not be sufficient to serve the general purpose of an essay.
  • In sufficient command on the source: If someone includes a work to his or her bibliography then it is expected that he or she has an immense knowledge or point of view about the persons work. Additions of works just to inflate the bibliography can lead to a negative approach about the essay writer during the constructive discussion on that topic.
  • Use of web as secondary source: Documents or information collected from the web has to crosscheck properly before using it as a secondary source in an essay. Sometimes an unrevised content from web can lead to the crash of the essay if proven wrong.

It can be said that a secondary source gives authentication to an essay and opens several scopes of logical discussion on that topic.

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