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Biographies: Introduction

Welcome

Welcome to the Biographies subject guide!

This is the place to learn about:

  • doing library research for biographical information
  • finding biographical information on specific groups of people (Presidents, prominent women, authors, etc.)

Jane Goodall, World Bank Photo Collection, 2010.

Sources for Biographies

Reference Sources, such as encyclopedias, handbooks and dictionaries, are a good place to start your research because they provide:

  • background on a topic 
  • historical research
  • potential keywords for your catalog and database searches

Books in both print and electronic format provide:

  • in-depth coverage of a topic, broad in scope and usually historical
  • information that is two to three years old by the publication date
  • indexes where you can check if the book contains your topic

Articles in both print and electronic format provide: 

  • the most current source of peer-reviewed information
  • focused research, narrow in scope
  • literature reviews

Websites must be evaluated for credibility, authority and accuracy before using and provide:

  • the most current information on a topic (but not necessarily peer-reviewed)
  • obscure, hard-to-find information

What Is Peer Review?

Many instructors require you to use peer-reviewed sources for your papers and projects, but what does that mean?

  • Peer review is the process of having experts in a field review the quality of an article or book before it is published
  • Most articles in scholarly and academic journals are peer-reviewed
  • Books published by university or academic presses are peer-reviewed

Most databases allow you to limit your search to peer-reviewed articles. Here are two examples:

Subject Librarian

Erin O'Toole's picture
Erin O'Toole
Contact:
Willis Library, Room 080
940-565-3980
Website

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