Introduction to Types of Sources

What you’ll learn to do: identify and differentiate different types of sources

Where do you go to find research materials? Well, that’s more complicated for you than it was for students fifty years ago. Before the Internet, as an undergraduate researcher, you were responsible for the sources available in your college or university’s library. Under certain circumstances, materials could be obtained from other libraries through interlibrary loan services.

Things have changed. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility: the Internet, and all the information associated with it, is now available to you as a researcher. You are responsible for a lot more than is contained within the walls of the library. This can feel overwhelming, so we will start by exploring the different types of publications you may encounter. We’ll talk about how to find them in a later section, but you need to know what you’re looking for before you learn how to find it. In this section, you will learn about the different types of research sources you can find using the tools at your disposal.