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Research 101: Understanding Types of Information

A guide to help you develop good research skills!


 

Where do I Begin?

How to Choose What You Need

As you begin your research, you will need to understand what type of information you need.  This section will help you know the difference between:

Types of Information Sources

Understanding Different Types of Information

Understanding source types helps you determine what you need for your research.  Below is a list of commonly used resources with brief descriptions. Click on a link to learn how to locate information in a particular source type.

  • Books and Ebooks
         Provide broad, foundational coverage of a topic, usually with an in-depth analysis.
  • Reference Sources, Encyclopedias, and Handbooks
         
    Offer introductory overviews.  You can find background information to help you
         select a topic and place it in the broader context of the discipline.
  • Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Journals
         Contain articles written and reviewed by experts in the discipline. Topics are
         usually more narrowly focused.
  • Popular Magazines
         Are written for general audiences and are meant to entertain, inform, or present
         an opinion.  Authors are usually employed by the magazine.
  • Newspapers 
         Available in print and online and one of the first mediums to report on an event.
  • Video databases
         Available through the library and provide scholarly coverage in a variety of
         disciplines.  Users can create playlists and create clips that can be embedded into
         other documents.  
  • Websites
         Provide ready access to information of all kinds. They often provide valuable
         information, but you must carefully evaluate the credibility and reliability of web
         sources.


 

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