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Types of Sources: Glossary

A guide that provides information on types of sources and how to find them.

Helpful Words to Know

Glossary

Bibliography: an organized list of books following a theme; possibly a short list at the end of a research paper or an entire book
Database: an organized collection of electronic information that allows a user to locate citations or even full-text articles or chapters about a particular topic, such as articles about diabetes or books about Japan; an organized collection of electronic items, such as music files or images
Format: shape, size and general makeup of a source; a method of organizing data (Merriam Webster)
Monograph: a publication on a single subject in a single volume, such as a book, white paper or brochure which is not part of a series (books in book sets are usually considered monographs)
Peer reviewed journal: articles published in this type of journal have gone through a process of obtaining impartial opinions from individuals who participate in research in the same field or vocation to ascertain whether the articles are of a suitable standard before publication.
Periodical: a publication that is issued on a regular basis (i.e. a journal, magazine, and newspaper).
Primary source: first-hand accounts that are directly related to a topic. Diary entries, recordings, manuscripts, documents, newspaper articles, and photographs are some examples of primary sources.
Serial: a publication which is part of a series or part of a larger work issued under the same title in a succession of discrete parts, such as periodicals
Secondary source: materials that provide analyses or interpretations of primary sources. Typically, the creator of a secondary source does not have first-hand experience with the topic's events or conditions. Magazine articles and some scholarly journal articles  may be secondary sources.
Tertiary source: provide overviews by compiling, indexing, or organizing primary and secondary sources. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, fact books, and guidebooks are often considered to be tertiary sources. Tertiary sources are helpful for finding primary and secondary sources.