Choosing your sources

How do you decide what types of sources you need and where to search for them?  Start by looking at your research question and ask yourself what type of information you need in order to answer the question.  Will you need journal articles, statistics, government reports, etc.?  Knowing what type of information you need will help you choose the right tools to find it.

Information comes in many forms.  It’s important to understand the value and scope of different sources.

  • Encyclopedias introduce a subject.
  • Books describe it in depth.
  • Articles describe one small aspect in detail.
  • Conference proceedings often present the newest research being completed in a given field.

What does scholarly mean?

Peer-reviewed (refereed) journals

Peer reviewed or refereed journals are academic research journals which contain articles assessed by an editorial committee before publication.

To confirm that a journal is peer reviewed look for submission and acceptance dates for an article, or at the journal cover information to see whether there is an editorial committee. 

Many databases allow you to limit your search to peer-reviewed articles.

Next: Searching for sources

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