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Types of Sources

over 3 years ago

1. Decide which types of resources and the range of resources which will best meet your needs. Consider print (both paper and online) and human resources:

Print (paper and online) Books, encyclopedias, magazines, professional journals, primary sources such as diaries, newspapers, personal journals, maps, photographs.

Human sources: Practitioners and researchers such as doctors, teachers, university professors, other professionals and any other expert in the field of study. Laymen (ordinary people) can be useful when you are conducting a survey, just need opinions, or if you are finding oral history of an area.You may be a resource if you are conducting an experiment or making observation.

Primary: Sources that were written as a first hand account; they are original creations. Examples: newspapers, diaries, letters, speeches, interviews, scientific experiments, research results, artistic creations like art or music.

Secondary: Sources that are second hand accounts; they have the benefit of hindsight and/or are original creations using primary sources as references. Examples: newspapers, magazine articles, biographies, journal articles, literary criticism, nonfiction books.

Tertiary: Reference works that may lead you to primary or secondary resources. Often, these sources do not qualify for academic research purposes but are very helpful in getting background information and fact. Examples: dictionaries, encyclopedias, thesauruses, bibliographies.

2. Choose the best and most authoritative sources. How do you know which are best? Here is a consideration:

Answer this question: "Which sources would the leading academics (researchers and university professors) use?" (hint: probably not Google)

3. Choosing the best human resources (people who are experts in the subject you are studying). Find people at the following places: institutions of higher education, businesses, professional agencies such as law and accounting offices, nonprofit organizations such as Red Cross and United Way, service agencies such as hospitals, clinics, police stations, and so forth.

From Selecting and Locating the Best Sources

Copyright 2002 Big6 Research and Barbara Jansen. All rights reserved.

Revised: July, 2002

Links to Primary Sources on the Web

over 3 years ago

Click here for a document with "clickable" links to primary sources on the web.