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Secondary Sources

In the sciences, secondary sources are books and articles that provide an overview of a discipline or the current state of research, rather describing one specific experiment and its method and result. Review articles are secondary sources, and one excellent way to search for them them is to find a subject-specific journal in the Annual Reviews database, as well as limiting database search results to review articles. Books are most often secondary sources.

Examples of secondary sources:

  • Review articles
  • Data compilations
  • Most books


Reference Sources

Reference sources may include dictionaries, encyclopedias and books which provide the history, background and overview of a topic. They are a useful way to gain general background information on a topic during the preliminary stages of your research and to help you build foundational portions of your research, such as the introduction.


Find Print Books in the Library

STEM related items in print are shelved on Honnold 1 near the cafe. eBooks and print book are searchable via Library Search.

Books are are important in the sciences because they take a broader view of a topic that does a research article or a review article. When you are new to a topic or starting a big research project (like a senior thesis or a literature review), starting with books helps you get the background or broader view on a topic before diving into highly specialized articles.

The Claremont Colleges Library uses the Library of Congress Classification System. A Library of Congress call number will contain a combination of letters and numbers, and will typically end with a four-digit year. For example, QL737.P2 C35 2011.

To learn how to find items in the collection using a call number watch, Learn How to Read Call Numbers.