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Types of Sources: Selecting Sources

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

Information Resources - Material Types & Formats

Welcome!

The human world is a veritable web of information.  Information can come from many different types of sources. Which kind should you use?

It depends on what questions you are trying to answer.

The following tutorial will examine a variety of information types and materials regularly used for academic research.  We will consider how they are produced, advantages and disadvantages of particular resource types, and some suggestions for determining what sources are best-bets for your particular research needs.  

Rule of thumb: Use a variety of sources to add validity and depth to your work.  A variety of sources also opens your point-of-view to opinions that differ from yours.  That's a good thing!

What you will learn:

  • Given a need for a particular type of information (i.e. overview, scientific research, news), to identify and use an appropriate type of source, such as:
    • encyclopedia articles, books and e-books, magazine articles, journal articles, newspapers, primary sources and reference materials
  • ‚ÄčDifferentiate between popular magazines and scholarly journals
  • Articulate the advantages of the different types of media in which information is found
  • Differentiate among major finding aids typically used in libraries:  library catalog, research databases, Internet search engines.

(please view the tutorial using the full-screen button)

 

Finding Authoritative Information

So many types of sources! Which one should I use? The answer is: it depends on your research needs.

 

Rule of thumb: Use a variety of sources to add validity and depth to your work. A variety of sources also opens your point-of-view to opinions that differ from yours.

 

Here's an example:
 

Topic: Television violence does not make children become more violent

Adapted with permission from Wichita State University Libraries' "What Source Should I Use?".