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Research Tips and Tricks

Choosing Sources

Below are some of the most common sources for information for research papers. 

Your assignment guidelines will state the type of sources you can use, and you need to be careful to use the correct type of sources.

Also, remember that not all sources are scholarly or peer-reviewed. Many may be popular sources. To understand the difference, click here.

Books: Books will provide you with an excellent general overview of a topic but are generally not as up to date as the other sources (but depending on your topic that might not matter). Also, not all books are scholarly; for more information about scholarly books, click here.

Articles: Articles from journals and magazines tend to deal with more specific topics than books and are usually more up to date. Not all articles are scholarly or peer-reviewed; for more information about "peer review," click here.

Web pages: All kinds of information can be found on the internet, including text, video, audio, statistics, and maps. The currency and quality of the information vary greatly. Therefore, it is vital to evaluate sources found online; click here for more information about evaluation. 

Primary Sources: Primary sources are materials created at the time of the event which they are discussing. Examples include diaries, letters, and speeches. Click here for more information about primary sources.