Before starting your research, it's important to understand the types of information sources available. The video below provides a broad overview of the information you can find in sources such as books, encyclopedias, almanacs, periodicals, electronic resources and more.
Posted with permission from Bob Baker, Library Director, Pima Community College.
What do you hope to accomplish by using sources? Some common reasons you might use sources in your own work include:
Adapted from Yale College Writing Center's "Using Sources" webpage
Consider the types of evidence needed to answer your research question or make your argument.
Are certain types of sources recommended or required? Some instructors require you to use only scholarly peer-reviewed journals, primary sources, newspapers, or books from the library, while others might leave things more open-ended.
|If you need:||Try using:|
|Expert evidence||Scholarly articles, books, and statistical data|
|Public or individual opinion on an issue||Newspapers, magazines, and websites|
|Basic facts about an event||Newspapers, books, encyclopedias (for older and well-known events)|
|Eye-witness accounts||Newspapers, primary source books, web-based collection of primary sources|
|A general overview of a topic||Books or encyclopedias|
|Information about a very recent topic||Websites, newspapers, and magazines|
|Local information||Newspapers, websites, and books|
|Information from professionals working in the field||Professional/trade journals
Common Terms for Source Types
Learn more about "peer-reviewed" articles .
Note: In many databases, you can limit your search to scholarly, peer-reviewed or refereed journals. However, this option is not perfect, as it may also remove some peer-reviewed content that is still peer-reviewed.
Examples: School Library Journal, Harvard Business Review, Engineering and Mining Journal, and American Biology Teacher.
Examples: The New Yorker, People, and Rolling Stone