There are many different types of information sources that can be useful for your research. The chart below lists some common information sources with examples of each to help you evaluate and select the best sources for your project.
||SOURCE||DESCRIPTION / HOW TO FIND||EXAMPLES|
|Books & eBooks||
Books cover virtually any topic, fact or fiction. For research purposes, you will probably be looking for books that synthesize all the information on one topic to support a particular argument or thesis. Books usually provide in-depth and/or historical analysis of a subject.
|Print books in the library, eBooks from library databases|
Scholarly journal articles go through a process of peer review before they are published. They are written by experts in the field and their purpose is to advance the ongoing body of work within the discipline. These articles might present original research data and findings, or take a position on a key question within the field. They can be difficult to read, because their intended audience is other experts and academics, but they are at the top of the line when it comes to authoritative information. At the end of each article you will find a bibliography or works cited page of sources the author used to write the article.
How to find: Use the databases on the Find Articles tab of this Research Guide to locate articles in scholarly journals.
|Journal of Political Science, Harvard Business Review, Journal of Politics & Law|
|Miscellaneous Data / Documents||
Documents is a broad category and can be found in a variety of places including the library, internet and databases that cover working papers, newsletters, etc. Documents may contain industry and country information, as well as data and statistics.
|White papers, working papers, newsletters, dissertations, analyst reports, conference proceedings, etc...|
Trade publications are written by and for professionals within an industry. These are an excellent source of very specific information from inside the field. Trade publications are most often found in subject-specific library databases.
How to find: You can find articles in business trade journals by searching the business databases on the Find Articles page of this Research Guide.
|Advertising Age, Marketing Week, Nation's Restaurant News, Investment Weekly|
|General Interest Magazines||
Magazines usually cover current events and general interest subjects. Articles from magazines can help you generate ideas about issues, controversies, or unanswered questions about a topic, which you might want to explore further. They sometimes refer to studies or scholarly work that you can track down for more information. Most articles are written by paid journalists, rather than experts in the field.
How to find: You can find articles in magazines by searching the magazine databases on the Find Articles page of this Research Guide.
|Time, Newsweek, Psychology Today, The Economist, Scientific American|
Typically content revolves around current events. The focus is geared toward the general public with articles written by paid journalists or freelance reporters.
How to find: Use the news databases on the Find Articles page of this Research Guide to locate newspaper articles.
|The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times|
The focus, content and authors of websites vary widely according to each individual site. Always evaluate website information carefully, to check for accuracy, bias, and currency of the information.
How to find: Use Google Scholar, which provides a search of scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles.
|Government, company, consumer, university, non-profit organization, etc.|
Now that you've learned the language and the types of sources that are available to you, you're ready to search for books, articles, and other documents. Click on the various tabs at the top of the page to begin your search!