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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 Books

Source Types


Used for



·    Cover all topics including fact, fiction, and opinon.

·    Contain original research that may cover multiple experiments or span several years of cumulative material.

·    In-depth analysis (scholarly book) or broad examination of a topic (popular non-fiction, aimed at general readers).

·    Provide references on other related works.

·    Authors’ credentials are known.

·     Can be in print or e-books. E-books are available through online catalog and library subscription databases. 

·    Overview, historical and background information on a topic.

·    In-depth and comprehensive information (causes, effects, long-term consequences, fuller conclusions, etc.).

·    References for further reading on the subject.


·   It takes long to publish a book and the information is out of date shortly after it is published.  

·   Not all authors and publishers are created equal.  Anyone can publish a book these days!

o  Self-published books may have no editorial or peer review

o    May need to evaluate the publisher or author for bias or quality

See a librarian or professor if you have any questions!




We at Rider University Libraries collect books that are most appropriate for your needs and your studies--and we can help you discover and obtain books we don't own.

Stop by the Reference Desk or "Ask a Librarian" for help!