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ENGL 01A Nelson: Major Source Types
This guide provides information on finding and working with information resources for research projects.
Learn about some of the major types of sources appropriate for your research. Keep in mind, different sources serve different purposes. Your information need will determine what kind of source to look for.
Use reference sources when you need background information on a topic. They can help provide an overview and/or history and chronology of a topic. They can also lead you to other sources through bibliographies.
Use scholarly articles when you need the results of a research study, such as an experiment, survey, focus group, etc. Popular articles include those from newspapers and magazines, which focus on current events and human interest stories. They will sometimes also report about a research study, but you need to refer back to the study to get more detailed information.
Use books or book chapters when you need more depth on a topic. For some fields, like history, the gold standard for sharing the results of research is through scholarly books since these researchers are analyzing sources rather than conducting experiments.