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ENGL1010/ENGL0870

Types of Sources

Types of Sources

You have access to a variety of sources; however, there is not a definitive best type.  The best source depends upon the purpose of your search and the information you need.  For example, if you are looking at current events, you should start with newspapers, Internet sites, and magazines, as they are published quickly and are generally more up-to-date than books.  Books, on the other hand, are good sources for historical accounts and analysis of events, as well as more in depth coverage of topics.

  • Books - Books generally contain a large amount of information in one place but, because of the long length of the writing and publication processes, they don't contain up-to-the-minute information.  They are good for looking at historical topics, topics that don't change rapidly, and analysis of topics.
  • Periodicals - Periodicals are published faster than books and are generally the go-to source for current research and more timely information. Academic journals are considered the most reliable and credible sources of information.  Popular magazines require additional evaluation to determine suitability for your purpose.  Newspapers provide firsthand accounts of events as they happen, as well as limited analysis of current topics.  More information about the different types of periodicals follows.
  • Internet Sites - Internet sites can be updated almost instantaneously, so they are often the best source for breaking news and current events.  Because anyone can create content on the Internet with no editorial control, you must be diligent in evaluating these sources for accuracy, credibility, bias, timeliness, and purpose.