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Research and Instruction

Types of Sources

Finding Information on your Topic

Background information 
Before looking at interpretive works such as books and articles, be sure to familiarize yourself with the basic facts and issues associated with your topic. Reference works such as encyclopedias and dictionaries will give you a broad overview of topics relating to your paper.

Scholarly journals can offer insights and commentary on the most current developments in a given field. Use our databases to look for a specific topic across a range of journals.

Books offer lengthier, in-depth discussions on a specific topic, as well as bibliographies which may provide additional sources for your research. Books and eBooks can be located through the library catalog.

Web Resources
Government websites, museum websites, news sites, and organizational websites can provide information for research papers, but be sure to evaluate these source for accuracy and bias. Check out this video to improve your Google searching skills.

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources

Studies by researchers that describe, analyze, and interpret data found in primary sources to make information more accessible. Examples of secondary sources include books, articles, encyclopedias, and dictionaries.

Primary Sources

Original works such as manuscripts, diaries, oral histories, statistical information, surveys, speeches, and government documents. These represent original thinking, reports on discoveries, or the ideas of a specific time and/or place.

To find primary sources in Ellender Library, consult Archives and Special Collections and Government Information

Primary vs. Secondary


Stuck for an idea on your class assignment?

Have an idea but not sure where to start?

Just want to know the best sources for your field?

Starting your research with your discipline-specific subject guide is always a good idea!


Additional Resources