Research Skills Tutorial

  • Turning A Topic Into A Research Question
  • Getting Background Information About Your Topic
  • Portfolio Activity 1

Types of Information Sources

Information sources are often classified as physical (print, analog) versus online (electronic, digital,) text versus audio-video and book versus journal.

Here are some common information source types with descriptions of how current their information usually is, what kind of information is contained in them, and where to find them.

Journal Articles

Screenshot of the front page of an article in the European Journal of Political Research.

Magazine Articles

Screenshot of the front page of an article in Health Magazine.

Newspaper Articles

 Screenshot of an article in the newspaper Austin American Statesman.

Monographs (a.k.a. Scholarly Books)

Screenshot of part of a page of a monograph (scholarly book.)

Nonfiction Books

Screenshot of a page of a non-scholarly nonfiction book.

Reference Resources

Screenshot of a page of a manual, which is a type of reference book.

 Screenshot of a page of a textbook.

Gray Literature

A scann of the cover of Soren Kierkegaard's university thesis, which is an example of gray literature.

Certain kinds of gray literature can be found in databases. Others are best found by searching the web. 

Sometimes it is difficult to ascertain the author or organization responsible for the information, which can make gray literature may be difficult to cite.

What about video? What about the Web? Neither is a source type; video is a format, and the Web is a delivery method. You can find a video format textbook. You can find a scholarly article on the web. It does not necessarily change what kind of information is contained in it, who is responsible for that information, what kind of quality control is behind it, or how current that information is.

Accessibility Note

Please note: If you need to request accommodations with content linked to on this guide, on the basis of a disability, please contact Accessibility Resources and Services by emailing them at [email protected]  Requests for accommodations should be submitted as early as possible to allow for sufficient planning. If you have questions, please visit the Accessibility Resources and Services website


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Information Literacy Guide: About

About this Guide

This Information Literacy guide is designed to teach the most commonly needed information concepts in higher education learning. It is applicable for all levels of information searching and use.

The guide has been adapted specifically for the University of Fort Hare (UFH) community.


What is Information Literacy?

Video Tutorial: Information Literacy in a Nutshell

Source : Instructional Services, David L. Rice Library

Information Literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to “recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.”

Information Literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning.

  An information literate person is able to:

Source: Information literacy competency standards for higher education. (2000).

Learning Outcomes

This guide will enable students to:

After completing this guide, you will be able to:

these are online repositories of various sources of information

Internet Sources for Research Help Guide

Can i use internet sources, did you know internet history.

Some professors think that internet sources shouldn't be used in research projects. To be sure, a lot of material on the internet is not trustworthy -- a lot of the content is biased or factually incorrect. But there is a lot of valid and useful information available on the internet. 

As a researcher and writer, it is your job to be able to tell the difference. To learn more, visit the Critiquing Websites tab.

What we know as the internet began as an internal network for ARPA -- the Advanced Research Projects Agency -- in the early 1960s, during a time of increased military and scientific research, a result of the "space race" between the United States and the then-Soviet Union. (ARPA became the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency .) This internal network, named ARPANET, was a way by which scientists could exchange information electronically between two specified points.

The internet, as we know it, has only been in existence since the 1990s. The "World Wide Web" was introduced by CERN and created by Tim Berners-Lee . 

The internet is not managed by a central governing body. Rather it is a global, non-regulated interconnected system. Some technical aspects of the system are managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), particularly the creation of unique identifiers, such as URLs (domain names) and internet protocol (IP) numbers.

these are online repositories of various sources of information

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Library Research: An Introduction

Types of information sources.


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Introduction & Learning Objectives

Information can come from virtually anywhere — social media, blogs, personal experiences, books, journal and magazine articles, expert opinions, newspapers, and websites — and the type of information you need will change depending on the question you are trying to answer. Different assignments require information from a variety of sources; therefore, you need to understand where to go to find certain types of information.

After reviewing the material in this section, students will be able to:

The Information Timeline

What is an academic journal?

Reference Books

Newspapers (News sources)

Academic Journals (Peer-reviewed or scholarly journals)

University of Illinois Library Wordmark

Types of Sources and Where to Find Them: Primary Sources

Historians and other scholars classify sources as primary or secondary . This distinction is important because it will affect how you understand these sources. In this first video of a 2-part tutorial, we will discuss primary sources.

Primary sources are most often produced around the time of the events you are studying. They reflect what their creator observed or believed about the event. These sources serve as the raw material that you’ll analyze and synthesize in order to answer your research question, and they will form key pieces of evidence in your paper’s argument. Secondary sources, in contrast, provide an interpretation of the past based on primary sources.

This newspaper article is an example of a primary source. It describes a visit Nixon made to the Soviet Union in 1959. It was written the day after by a journalist who witnessed the event, and it reflects what the journalist and his editors thought their readers would care about at the time. Another example is this pamphlet, which compiles legal testimony from a witch trial. It was published in 1646, the same year as the trial it documents. But, given the nature of the topic, you would probably want to research the pamphlet’s author, John Davenport, to determine the reliability of the transcription or what might have motivated him to publish it.

However, you should be aware that there’s nothing inherent in a source that makes it primary or secondary. Instead, its category depends on how you treat it, which in turn depends on your research question. For example, Black Reconstruction in America , written in 1935 by W.E.B. Du Bois, could be used as a secondary source for research about 19th-century America, since Du Bois draws on a range of government reports, biographies, and existing historical narratives in order to make a claim about the past. However, it could also be used as a primary source for research about Du Bois’s life or black intellectual culture during the 1930s.

One of the main challenges of dealing with primary sources is locating them. Many historical documents have never been published, and they may only be available in archives. For example, here is a page from the expense book of a student enrolled in the University of Illinois in 1930. It is a unique document located in the Student Life and Culture Archive here on campus, and it is only accessible to those who can come to the archive in person. This, on the other hand, is a published primary source: a diary, written in 1912, and first published several decades later. Our copy is in the Main Stacks.

Some of these materials, like letters, were not published at the time of creation, but have been subsequently published in a book, or digitized and made available online. For some topics, historical documents might be difficult to find because they have been lost or were never created in the first place. In other cases, the primary sources might exist, but not in English. Therefore, when you begin to formulate a topic, you will want to think about what kinds of evidence will be available to you.

When thinking about how to find or make sense of primary sources, you should ask yourself three questions:

Depending on the topic and time period that you are studying, you’ll have to look for different kinds of primary sources. For example, if you are interested in the issue of birth control in 20 th century America, you can expect to find many primary sources, including:

If you are interested in a topic from a more distant historical time period, such as the status of Jews during the Renaissance, you may have to look harder, but you can still find documents such as:

If you’re interested in first-person accounts, you’ll want to take a look at sources like:

You’ll have to determine if the source is a reliable account, or created with the intention of imposing a particular understanding of an event or situation. Were they created at the time of the events they recount, or were they written many years later? Some sources might make this point of view obvious, whereas others might pretend to be authoritative.

In other cases, you’ll want to think about what kinds of organizations might have created records related to your topic. You might be able to find:

Again, you’ll want to determine the circumstances of the document’s creation. Was it an internal document, created to gather information, or was it intended to persuade others inside or outside the group to take a certain course of action?

Visual material can also provide a powerful window onto the time period you are studying. For instance, maps not only reveal contemporary political boundaries, but also how people thought of them. Other visual sources include:

Keep in mind that primary sources can have multiple meanings. For example, this 1854 map provides evidence about the 1854 London cholera outbreak, but it also reflects a new understanding of how disease spreads and a concern with illness as a social problem.

You can find published primary sources by using the online catalog , or by searching in a digital collection of historical documents, such as the Gerritsen Collection of Women’s History, Chronicling America, and Empire Online. The History Library maintains a list of these collections on its website.

Remember, though, that these databases will not explicitly categorize the items they list as primary and secondary, and may even contain documents that you might want to use as a secondary source, so you’ll have to use your own judgment. For example, you might be interested in this Dictionary of Women’s Employment for the information it contains about wages, or for the attitudes that it conveys about what kinds of jobs are appropriate for women.

You can also find primary sources by consulting published bibliographies, and by looking at the secondary literature on your topic to see what sources other scholars have used in their research.

Long gone are the days of being limited to your college’s library for academic research. With the internet came new ways of searching scholarly acceptable sources—from peer-reviewed articles in online academic journals to eBooks and research databases. Even social media platforms, at one time widely shunned by professors, have become useful research sources.

Directly-above shot of a magnifying glass on a blue and yellow surface | UTEP Connect

 The downside to the incredible amount of scholarly acceptable sources available within a few clicks is the sheer volume of information out there —it can be daunting to know where to start without a few reliable go-to resources up your sleeve. So that’s exactly what we’ve compiled: four suggestions of solid sources to start your academic research online.

NB: Acceptable academic research sources can vary by professor, so it’s a good idea to check your course syllabus and/or consult your instructor before beginning research to ensure you’re adhering to their policies.

There are thousands of academic journals online covering a broad array of disciplines. Google Scholar is a great place to start. You can use this free tool to search peer-reviewed articles in academic journals as well as other sources including books, abstracts and court opinions, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other web sites. Google Scholar even provides a list of where else in the literature a particular article is cited, which is handy for continuing your research by reading related content. It’s important to note, though, that you’ll only be able to access the articles you find via Google Scholar if they are freely available online. In most cases you’ll be able to read the abstract, but to access the full text you may need a subscription to the respective journal, which may be available via your university’s library but not directly from Google Scholar.

The U.S. Census Bureau website should be an essential part of your research toolkit. In addition to its primary mission of conducting the U.S. Census every 10 years, the Bureau conducts more than 100 surveys of households and businesses across the country annually. These surveys go far beyond population and demographic information; just a sampling of the areas the Census Bureau collects rich data on include employment, housing, crime, consumer expenditures, and health. The Bureau makes its vast wealth of information publicly available and easy to sort, analyze, and visualize with free tools and apps on its website.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is another website you’ll want to bookmark and reference often in your research. The BLS website contains dozens of up-to-date maps, tables, databases, and calculators for finding and sorting hundreds of data sets related to consumer pricing, national and regional employment, labor productivity, and working conditions.

Other agencies that compile and publish statistical data valuable for academic research include:

University libraries often have subscriptions to research databases such as ProQuest, EBSCO, and LexisNexis Academic. These powerful tools allow students to search and access billions of premium, vetted documents, eBooks, and other resources ranging in topic from news, legal, medical, business, and more—even if these documents would have been behind a paywall if accessed via Google or another search engine. These research databases are extremely useful (and extremely expensive), so be sure to take advantage of free student access through your university library’s subscriptions.

Just 15 years ago, the only ways to source a quote from a subject matter expert was with an in-person interview, a phone call, or an email. But with nearly 3.5 billion people —including world leaders, religious figures, and scientists and scholars at the top of their fields—using social media in 2019, sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can be great resources to find first-hand quotes as well as news and official statements from organizations and government agencies. Tip: use the advanced search features on these sites to help narrow down the results to only the posts most relevant to your research.

What’s Next

If you’re looking to advance your education with an online degree or certificate, UTEP Connect has the programs aligned with the skills employers value most in 2019. Plus, every UTEP Connect online student has full access to the UTEP Library , which has subscriptions to leading academic journals and databases to make conducting research for coursework easy and efficient. We invite you to explore our online programs and see what it will take to make that next step into your profession. If you are interested in learning more about our team and UTEP Connect’s 100% online undergraduate, master’s, and graduate certificate programs, reach out. An enrollment counselor will contact you directly.



Connect With Us

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Internet Sources

Video on evaluating websites from ProQuest's Research Companion

Source Evaluation Aid

Use ProQuest's Research Companion's Source evaluation Aid to help you critically evaluate websites, periodicals, or books. 

Lateral Reading

Learn about lateral reading, one of the most effective ways to evaluate web sources. John Green of CrashCourse explains why you should learn to read laterally and exactly how to do so.

You might have discovered since you've come to ETSU that many professors are leery about allowing students to use web sites in research papers. The truth is that the internet contains a lot of information that is not available elsewhere (e. g. the U.S. government publishes almost exclusively to the internet). How do you find appropriate web sites for your college papers?

Here are two suggestions that should help when you use Google:

1. Use Google Scholar . Google Scholar can help you identify the most relevant research including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, and abstracts and articles from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations. 

The easiest ways to find Google Scholar is to google "Scholar" or type the URL, "" into either the search or address box. 

You can make this search more powerful by setting a library link for ETSU. Click on Settings (located in the upper right corner of the page). The library links button is located on the left side of the page under the language link. We recommend that you set a language limit to English unless you can read other languages.

2. Use domain searching. Not all domains are created equal (the domain is the part of the URL that comes after the dot). The three domains that would be most useful for your searches will be: 

.gov (government sites. These sites include local, state, and federal government sites for the United States.)  .edu (educational sites. This domain includes mostly colleges and universities.) .org (noncommercial sites. This domain includes nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations, philanthropies, charities, religious organizations, educational and cultural institutions, arts organizations, and sports clubs.)

To search within a domain, type in your keyword(s) followed by (or .edu or .org). Do not leave a space between the colon and the dot. Example: racial profiling

Tools for Research in Library & Information Studies : Home

Subject Guide

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About this guide

Many tools are available for conducting research specific to Library & Information Studies topics. Becoming familiar with these tools can be a decisive factor for successfully learning and contributing to the field. 

This guide provides a general orientation to LIS specific resources. Many of these resources are licensed through UW-Madison, but some are available regardless of institutional affiliation. 

General searching tips

1. Identify the sources you should be searching.

Before you begin research on a topic, take time to determine where to best start looking. Planning can save you an immense amount of effort.

For instance, suppose you are interested in finding out how to format the title field in a catalog record. Your goal is to successfully upload an original cataloging record to WorldCat. Given that, you would likely want to start your research by looking through the WorldCat help files. Even if they don't provide the answer you're looking for, they might provide references to helpful resources.

If you're unsuccessful by searching the WorldCat help files, you might use the catalog to locate an official MARC manual since you know that WorldCat records are written with MARC formatting. Begin searches by questioning if you are starting with the most helpful resources.

2. Narrow your search strategies based on the information you know.

Most scholarly databases and search engines allow you to narrow keyword searching to specific parts of records. A clear example is to narrow by author or title if you know this information. Most resources also allow searching subject headings or descriptors, too.

Some resources allow other types of searching. For example, the catalog allows keyword searching by call number, ISBN, or ISSN. If you know any of that information, you can devise more effective search strategies by narrowing which fields you search.

Learn about the advantages of any database you use before you start searching and you be a more efficient searcher.

3. Combine keyword searching with controlled vocabularies, subject headings, and descriptors.

Most resources use controlled vocabularies, also referred to as subject headings or descriptors, to provide access to materials. Controlled vocabularies are often helpful for finding materials that belong to a genre. By limiting keyword searching to a few terms from a controlled vocabulary, you can conduct more fine-grained searches. 

4. Other useful search tips:

UW-Madison Libraries resources

these are online repositories of various sources of information

Internet data repositories as accessible educational resources

online educational resources

Students’ education in recent years has increasingly moved to the online education format. The need to expand the number of sources of obtaining information has become increasingly urgent. And here the following fact can help. In today’s world, the government agencies and research groups make their research data available online. All of them refer to a wide variety of topics and areas.

In this way, college students get the opportunity to work with real statements. They far exceed the number of those few measurements, which are collected during their laboratory courses in the usual way. These can be data about the environment. For example, it’s pollution, as well as data from various experiments. Also there was a rapid growth of software, various professional applications, and tools. They help college students to further understand various statistical principles and online statistics. On the one hand, it seems that all of the above facilitates the online learning process.

On the other hand, among all this variety of online data repositories, students are even more in need of qualified online help. These can be various online services. Among them you can easily get lost while looking for qualified specialists. In order not to worry about the final successful result, AssignmentBro is ready to help. Here the top writers will provide students with qualified online help on a wide range of various topics. The topics of the student’s papers can be very diverse, just like the research that will reach the scientific level. Besides all mentioned above, there is a huge database of online information. It is a vast database infrastructure, which is divided into separate types. And each of them is a comprehensive online repository of various studies and facts kept from these studies.

Among them, there are the following ones. A data lake, data warehouse, data mart, metadata repositories, data cube and etc. The data lake is a unified repository. It allows you to store structured, unstructured, or semi-structured corporate data of any scale. This information can be used for various tasks. These are advanced analytics, reporting, or visualization. The warehouse is basically a large central data repository. It contains information and statistic from different business segments and sources. Typically, those records are used for various analyzes to help users make important business decisions.

The data mart often acts as a separate section of the data warehouse. It contains information and facts usually related to marketing and finance. The above types of online data repositories can be used as educational resources. By students of finance and economics faculties during their online education. Along with that, these students often need qualified help with online finance assignment writing . Metadata repositories usually describe where the source of the data is, how it was collected, and what it means. For businesses, those repositories are important too. They help to understand the changes that have occurred. Due to the fact they contain detailed information about the specifics. Data cubes are lists of background with three or more dimensions that are stored as a table. They are used to describe the temporal sequence of image data. They also help to evaluate the collected particulars from the different perspectives.

Considering all the above, we can conclude the following. The online data repositories are a huge system of online information and fact collection services. It is a wide variety of fields and activities. Among the different tools that students currently use in their educational processes , online data repositories deserve special attention. After all, when writing a college paper on a certain topic, students who use online info repositories not only find the information they need. They also learn to find, select different volumes of facts and then analyze them. In this way, they improve and refine their research skills. They also learn to systematize and analyze large amounts of information.

Author’s Bio

Carla Davis enjoys writing essays about college students and their online educational process. She also conducts research on topics related to the influence of various factors on student success. Non-trivial systems and methods for online student learning are among her favorite topics. And such are the results that can be achieved in this way.


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University Libraries

Gathering Background Information: Search Online Reference Sources

Getting Started

Using wikipedia or google is a good thing, your first instinct for quick information is to do an online search using google or wikipedia. that is a perfect way to get started the only way to begin your research is to start seeking out information and freely available resources, like google and wikipedia is the easiest way to begin., the benefits of wikipedia:, we all use wikipedia, even professors and librarians. it's the largest online general reference resource and covers an impressive breadth of general information. , since wikipedia was founded in 2001, it has greatly improved its standards for creating and editing pages. there are now content policies and guidelines in place., everyone must have a registered account to create and edit pages and follow wikipedia's extensive  content policies ., volunteer editors and administrators are quick to remove or take down any misleading or incorrect content., wikipedia pages also contain solid references and footnotes citing where the content creator got their information, which makes it easy for people to find potential sources for a research topic., watch the video below to learn more about wikipedia and how to use it effectively. , benefits of using library reference sources, now that you've learned a little bit about the benefits of using wikipedia, becoming familiar and using resources here at the ui libraries should be your next step. at the libraries, we have many reference tools and resources both in print and online. on this page you'll find several online resources, like online news collections and and reference databases like  cq researcher  or gale opposing viewpoints. , just as there are benefits of using wikipedia, there are benefits of using library resources., first, using the resources and tools the library owns and pays for is a smart use of your money as college students, staff, and faculty. , second, using library tools helps you learn college level research skills and makes you a more savvy researcher, overall. not to mention, using library databases gives you unlimited access to highly credible, peer-reviewed, scholarly literature you will not find on the internet. , using newspapers for background research.

You can find a wealth of information on just about any topic using online and print newspapers. The University of Iowa Libraries has access to more than hundreds of newspapers, available through our subscriptions. Many of these we have available online. 

Online News Databases

mobile resource

Help available

Historical News

The Proquest Historical Newspapers offer full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. Each newspaper collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue.

Users can cross-search titles.

Search Reference Sources

Search some of the Libraries' Reference Resources

Some topics will work better than others in these resources.

Top 5 Online Reference Resources besides Wikipedia

these are online repositories of various sources of information

CQ Researcher

Written by experienced journalists, footnoted and professionally fact-checked. CQ Researcher provides in-depth coverage of the most important issues of the day.

these are online repositories of various sources of information

Oxford Reference

Multi-part database of the online versions of seminal Oxford University Press texts. Each topical division contains the searchable version of the latest edition of published dictionaries and encyclopedias. 

these are online repositories of various sources of information

Gale eBooks

Gale eBooks, AKA Gale Virtual Reference Library is a database of encyclopedias and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research.

these are online repositories of various sources of information

SAGE eReference

An online collection of reference books covering the social sciences and education, including African American Studies, Aging & Gerontology, Anthropology, Communication and Media Studies, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, Gender & Sexuality Studies, History, Politics, Psychology, Social Issues, Social Work & Social Policy, and Sociology.


Gale Opposing Viewpoints

Opposing Viewpoints in Context offers an engaging online experience for those seeking contextual information and opinions on hundreds of today's hottest social issues. Drawing on the acclaimed Greenhaven Press series, Opposing Viewpoints in Context features continuously updated viewpoints, topic overviews, full-text magazines, academic journals, news articles, primary source documents, statistics, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites organized into a user-friendly portal experience


  1. Adding repositories to sources.list.d manually

    these are online repositories of various sources of information

  2. List multiple repositories under sources.list.d?

    these are online repositories of various sources of information

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    these are online repositories of various sources of information

  4. Repositories

    these are online repositories of various sources of information

  5. What is a Data Repository?

    these are online repositories of various sources of information

  6. Repositories of Primary Sources

    these are online repositories of various sources of information


  1. About the User Generated Content (UGC) policy

  2. what is source documents

  3. Websites of National repositories: The Library of Congress

  4. ff Jaehyun


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  1. Types of Information Sources

    Some journals allow authors to keep a copy of their articles online in a repository and you can usually find these through Google Scholar.

  2. Types of Information Sources

    In this Section · Books · Encyclopedias · Magazines · Databases · Newspapers · Library Catalog · Internet

  3. Online Library Resources

    These materials include electronic books, article databases, and electronic journals. Electronic books and journals provide exactly the same information as

  4. Types of Information Sources

    Information can come from virtually anywhere — social media, blogs, personal experiences, books, journal and magazine articles

  5. Types of Sources and Where to Find Them: Primary Sources

    For example, Black Reconstruction in America, written in 1935 by W.E.B. Du Bois, could be used as a secondary source for research about 19th-century America

  6. 4 Sources for Conducting Academic Research in the Digital Age

    It's important to note, though, that you'll only be able to access the articles you find via Google Scholar if they are freely available online. In most cases

  7. Internet Sources

    These sites include local, state, and federal government sites for the United States.) .edu (educational sites. This domain includes mostly

  8. Digital Repositories

    A digital repository is a collection of online resources. ... of mostly North American sources about library and information science.

  9. Internet data repositories as accessible educational resources

    The need to expand the number of sources of obtaining information has ... And each of them is a comprehensive online repository of various

  10. Gathering Background Information: Search Online Reference Sources

    The University of Iowa Libraries has access to more than hundreds of newspapers, available through our subscriptions. Many of these we have available online.