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First Year Seminar: Types of Sources

Research Sources

Here are different types of sources you may need for your research papers. When you're choosing a source type, keep in mind what kind of information you're looking for, but also what types of sources your professor requires you to use for the assignment. For example, if you need to use scholarly sources, you should be looking for academic articles, not newspaper articles or encyclopedia entries. Not every source in the databases is considered scholarly, so make sure you pay attention to these requirements as you're searching.

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Encyclopedia entries are a great source to use when you're researching a topic that you don't know much about. Encyclopedias will have basic, factual information on a variety of topics, and are a good place to start your research. There are some print encyclopedias in the library, but often, the online ones are easier to search. Here are some databases that include dictionaries and encyclopedias:

Academic or "Scholarly" Articles

Academic or "scholarly" articles are written by experts or people who work within a specific field. These works are usually in-depth analyses of a topic or reports of original research findings that are published in journals. These articles undergo a peer-review process, which means that other experts who work in the field review the article and suggest edits the author needs to make before the article can be published.

Many of our databases feature academic articles, and you can visit the A-Z databases page for a full list, or see the list databases below for examples that feature articles on a variety of topics.

For more information on academic articles, check out the tab of this guide titled "What's a Scholarly Article?".

Books & Ebooks

Books are a great source when you're doing in-depth research on a topic, or if you're focusing in on a specific aspect of a topic that might be covered in one of the chapters in a book. The library has a collection of print books on-campus, as well as databases that contain e-books if you're off-campus.

You can find both print and e-books in the library catalog. If you only want to see e-books, you can use the "All formats" dropdown below to select "E-books" or search directly in the databases below. 

Newspaper Articles

Newspapers are a great source to find information on current events. Because news articles are coming out all the time, they're very useful when you're researching an event that's currently happening, as a lot of other source types take more time to publish. Here are some databases where you can find newspaper articles:

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