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Explore Source Types: Types of Sources
After completing this module, you will be able to:
Identify and explain 5 different source types: traditional scholarly sources, gray literature, trade journals, non-traditional research sources, and everyday sources
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Print and eBooks cover virtually any topic, fact or fiction. For research purposes, you will probably be looking for books that synthesize all of the information on one topic.
Use a Book
to put your topic in context with other important issues
to find historical information
to find summaries of research to support an argument
Religion: A Very Short Introduction, 2020. Harper, Kyle.
Plagues Upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History, 2021. X, Malcolm.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, 2015.
Reference and Overview sources contain brief, factual articles on many subjects and are often found in encyclopedias. These articles are useful to explore a topic when getting started with research.
There are two types of encyclopedias -- general and subject. General encyclopedias provide overviews on a wide variety of topics. Subject encyclopedias contain entries focusing on one field of study.
Use Reference & Overview Sources
when looking for background information on a topic
when trying to find key ideas, important dates or concepts
Encyclopedia of Marriage and the Family (subject encyclopedia)
Ancient & Medieval History Online (subject encyclopedia)
Britannica Academic (general encyclopedia)
Credo Reference (collection of subject encyclopedias)
Magazines publish articles on topics of popular interest and current events. The articles are written by journalists and are for the general public.
Use a Magazine
to find information or opinions about popular culture
to find up-to-date information about current events
to find general articles written for people who are not necessarily specialists in the topic area
Examples of Magazines
Journal articles are written by scholars in an academic or professional field. A peer reviewed process or editorial board reviews the articles to decide whether or not they should be published. Journal articles may cover very specific topics or narrow fields of research.
Use a Journal
when doing scholarly research
to find out what has been studied on your topic
to find works cited lists that point to other relevant research
Examples of Journals
Journal of Marriage & Family
Journal of Business Research
American Journal of Nursing
Newspapers provide updated articles about current events and are a good source for local information.
Use a Newspaper
to find current information about international, national and local events
to find editorials, commentaries, expert or popular opinions
Wall Street Journal
New York Times
The Web allows access to information from news sites, organizations, and government agencies. One of the main features of the web is the open access to information
to find current information
to access information from the Library's online resources
to find information about companies
to find information from all levels of government - federal to local
to find both expert and popular opinions
Examples of Web Addresses
The Library of Congress: www.loc.gov
American Cancer Society: www.cancer.org
Videos and media clips can include full feature length films, documentaries, interviews, and instructional videos.
Watch a video or media clip:
to expand your knowledge on any subject
to analyze the work or compare to a text
to learn skills
The Civil War, 1990. Medcom-Trainex.
Blood Collection,, 2021. Lee, Spike.
Do The Right Thing, 1989.
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