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Choosing & Identifying the Best Source Types for Your Research

Learn about all the different source types and when they are appropriate and helpful to you in the research process: encyclopedias, Wikipedia, books, scholarly articles, popular articles and magazines, trade magazines, news, and websites!

Using the Database to Identify Source Types

A library database can help you narrow down to or identify source types. 

1. Narrowing down your search.

A) For example, you are searching "campaign financing" in Business Source Premier. Here is the initial screen of results.

B) If you were to scroll down, on the left sidebar you would see a facet, or category, called "Source Types."   You can limit your search results immediately to a specific source type, and only those types of articles will display.

C) You will also notice a "Refine Your Search" facet that allows you to limit to "Scholarly (peer-reviewed) journals."

2.  Identifying a source. Here, we have chosen the first record from the search "campaign financing" above, an article called "The Lonely Death of Public Campaign Financing."

A) We clicked on the article title to open the full record display.  "Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy" sounds like a scholarly journal, but there is way to find out.

B) Click on the title of the journal in the "Source" field, which will open the record that describes that journal.

C) This is the record for the source, or journal title, itself.  We learn that "Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy" is an academic, or scholarly journal.

Note:  Different databases have different levels of specifity or terminology in identifying source types.  When in doubt about your source type, call a librarian at 896-5115.