Not sure where to start your research? Below are four common types of sources used in research. Read about what they can contribute to your research and then explore the rest of the guide to learn how to find the sources. Remember the library staff is always here to help you! Contact our AskUs service or subject librarians if you have any questions.
Reference Sources, such as encyclopedias, handbooks and dictionaries, are a good place to start your research because they provide:
background on a topic
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
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: