Secondary sources provide an invaluable, scholarly insight of historical documents and events. In a secondary source, a nonparticipant will analyze and interpret events throughout history, building upon existing works and contributing their own thoughts and research. The key difference between an autobiography and biography is firsthand experience—secondary sources are often derived from an interpretation of primary sources.

Primary sources offer a personalized glimpse into the minds and lives of historical figures, actors, and events. While a primary source documents firsthand experience, secondary information elaborates and critiques these works through hindsight. Secondary sources provide academic insight and allow us to both preserve, study and critique, and expand upon the meaning of historical events.

Instructors can supplement textbooks and course materials using a list of secondary sources as guides to illustrate nuances in historical analysis. Society’s interpretation of historical events changes considerably over time, and historians use both primary sources and secondary sources to track these developments. K-12 students and academics can benefit from grasping the meaning and implication of events through analyzing the progression of historical interpretation. 

Gale provides a tertiary source for secondary information, acting as an encyclopedia specific to the main content of each lesson. Teachers can use these collections to further analyze primary sources through the lens of supplementary secondary sources, leading students to a deeper understanding of course material. Secondary sources of history allow academics and K-12 students alike to engage with the past as they learn.

Secondary Sources for Academics 

Academia is fueled by an instinctive human curiosity, motivating us to record and learn from the past. Academics need access to primary materials to explore raw, firsthand information and evidence. On the contrary, academic analysis creates a trail of secondary information that illuminates intellectual thought throughout recorded history. 

The featured collections at Gale trace academic research on primary literature, journal articles, autobiographies, and an ever-growing list of secondary sources. Students and researchers can use these secondary source examples to pinpoint exact moments in academic thought and contribute to the expansion of human knowledge.


Sexuality and Gender in Academia

Heavily discussed in today’s sociopolitical climate, academics can gain access to Gale’s Archives of Sexuality and Gender dating back to 1531. Dive into a rich and heavily recorded history of sex, gender, and sexuality on a global scale. From social activism to political involvement, teachers, students, and the curious intellectual can find stimulating, thought-provoking works on these topics. 

Examples of Sexuality and Gender from a Historical Perspective

Researchers can use Gale to delve into high-level analysis of historical events, including secondary source examples studying the trajectory of sexuality and gender throughout history. 

Ancient Greece lacked any true definition of sexuality. Rather than categorizing sexual orientations, individuals were classified by their role in sex. Each participant was defined as an active or passive party, or rather, one who penetrates versus one who is penetrated. The Roman Empire, however, had drastically different views on sexuality and gender. 

The Stonewall Riots took place on June 28, 1969. When police raided a New York gay club known as The Stonewall Inn, their presence would lead to six days of violent protests on Christopher Street. The gay rights movement would forever see this moment as a catalyst, igniting a wave of protest around the world. 

Access to Research Materials

Gale provides access to global works and a list of secondary sources of history involving drama, science, media, and more, as well as topical subjects on civil rights, anti-science movements, and populism. Academics can explore subjects pertinent to research broken down by relevant subjects.

Stimulating research materials that inspire and enlighten are easily accessible through Gale Academic OneFile. Categorized for optimal use, students and seasoned academics can find relevant, meaningful source materials. An extensive database of historical documents and secondary information supplies researchers with vibrant and extensive information for countless topics. 

Secondary Sources for K-12 Students

With documents tracing back to 1929, K-12 students in U.S. History and World History can benefit from a vast collection of biographies, journal articles, and more with Gale In Context: U.S. History and Gale In Context: World History. Teachers can access these resources to bolster in-class instruction and connect students to a richer portrayal of significant events. A combination of primary and secondary sources is critical to educating the next generation of learners in navigating culture, history, and the world at large

Secondary source examples like journal entries and biographies on subjects ranging from Martin Luther King Jr. to court cases and the Supreme Court provide scholarly material that enhances and reinforces learning. Gale allows instructors to skip straight to thought-provoking, captivating lessons rather than uninspired coursework. When teachers are faced with lackluster textbook materials, secondary sources of history instill abstract, thoughtful direction on the past and beyond.