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Quick Start to Research: Understanding Types of Information

Guiding you through the research process.

Understanding Types of Information

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Types of Information

Understanding source types can help you determine where you need to search for your research.  Below is a list of commonly used resources with brief descriptions of the information they can provide.

   Books and Ebooks

  • Cover virtually any topic, fact or fiction.
  • Useful for the complete background on an issue or an in-depth analysis of a theory or person.
  • Can take years to publish, so may not always include the most current information.
  • Find these sources by using ICC's library catalog found by clicking the Books & Videos link on our homepage

   Reference Sources, Encyclopedias, and Handbooks

  • Offer introductory overviews.
  • You can find background information to help you select a topic and place it in the broader context of the discipline.
  • Include facts, figures, addresses, statistics, definitions, dates, etc.
  • Find ICC's reference source list on the Databases & Articles page under Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

   Scholarly Peer-Reviewed/Academic Journals

  • Contain articles written and reviewed by experts in the discipline.
  • Topics are usually more narrowly focused.
  • Articles must go through a peer review process before they're accepted for publication.
  • Articles tend to have a narrower focus and more analysis of the topic than those in other types of publications.
  • Include cited references or footnotes at the end of research articles.
  • Visit the e-Journals link on the library homepage to search ICC's list of accessible journals

   Popular Magazines

  • Written for general audiences and are meant to entertain, inform, or present an opinion.
  • Include articles on diverse topics of popular interest and current events.
  • Articles typically written by journalists or professional writers.

   Newspapers

  • Available in print and online and one of the first mediums to report on an event.
  • Provides very current information about events, people, or places at the time they are published.
  • Useful for information on current events or to track the development of a story as it unfolds.
  • NewsBank and Newspaper Source are popular databases to search for news articles. Find them on the Databases & Articles page on the library homepage.

   Video databases

  • Available through the library and provide scholarly coverage in a variety of disciplines.
  • Users can create playlists and create clips that can be embedded into other documents.
  • Video databases such as Films on Demand and Kanopy can be found through the Streaming Media & Video Collections on the library homepage.

   Websites