Data compilations, yearbooks and textbooks

Secondary Sources: data compilations, yearbooks, textbooks and review articles

Data compilations

A good source of hard facts! For example, The Little Green Data Book : from the World Development Indicators.


Yearbooks are an annual publication that summarise the events of the preceding year. These often contain statistical summaries. Many yearbooks are available online like The Yearbook of Labour Statistics and the OECD International Direct Investment Statistics.


Textbooks are often written by academics who have experience of teaching the subject. Revisions and further editions suggest that the book has become an established and reliable source of information. Textbooks are useful as they:

  • provide validated knowledge on a subject
  • are structured and concise instructional packages
  • suggest further reading
  • have indexes that enable you to be selective about what you read
  • Cooper, Geoffrey M. The Cell : a Molecular Approach, 6th edition. Sinauer Associates, 2013.
  • Varley, R. Retail product management : buying and merchandising, 3rd edition. Routledge, London, 2014.
Review articles

Review articles are published in journals and specialised review publications. Like textbooks and encyclopaedias, they provide an overview of a topic, but in addition they:

  • evaluate information on a subject collected from a variety of sources
  • provide a state of the art review of knowledge about a subject, written by an expert in the field
  • provide extensive lists of references

A good review article can save you time, as it will summarise and evaluate known research about your subject.