Types of Resources

When you have a research assignment, the first step is to thoroughly read through the assignment. Then figure out what types of resources your instructor is asking for:

Scholarly Article: An article written by an expert in the field and reviewed by other experts in the same field. In most databases, you can limit your search to scholarly, peer reviewed or refereed journals. See Finding Peer Reviewed Articles  for more information.

Professional/Trade Article: An article written by a professional or a staff writer in the field and reviewed by an editor. The articles often do not contain bibliographies.

Popular Article: An article written for a general audience to inform or entertain. Some examples include Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, and People Magazine.

Primary Source: An item that was created during the period of time that is being studied. An example is a newspaper article from September 11, 2001 reporting on the 9/11 attacks. Browse our list of databases that contain primary source material or see Searching for Primary Sources  for more information.

Secondary Source:  A source that is one step removed from the event being studied and analyzes or draws upon primary sources. For example, United 93 is a movie based on the 9/11 attacks but created five years after the events.

What to Search For

This chart makes suggestions for where to find specific types of resources:
If you need Search
Expert evidence Scholarly articles, books, statistical data
Public or individual opinion Newspapers, magazines, or credible websites
Basic facts about an event Encyclopedias, books, or newspapers
Eyewitness accounts Newspapers, primary source books, and special collections sources
Information about a current topic Websites, newspapers, and magazines
Local information Newspapers, websites, and books
Information from professionals working in the field Professional trade journals