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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: 3,629.

Search box has campaign finance entered. The first two results of 3.629 are shown in the center pane of the screen.


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.

Source Types box contains: Magazines, Trade publications, academic journals, newspapers, country reports, with a show more button. Opening show more, you see addtional source types inudstry profiles, market research reports, and product reviews.


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


Under the Refine Results menu, you see Limit to: Full text, References available, and scholarly (peer reviewed) journals.


2.  Identifying a source.

Here, we have chosen the first record from the search "campaign financing" above, an article called "With Other People's Money: Campaign Financing as an Agency Problem."

A) We clicked on the article title to open the full record display.  "Journal of General Managment" 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.


Full record display for the article, showing title, authors, subjects and the source as Journal of General Management. A red arrow points to Journal of General Management with text that says "Takes you to information about the journal".



C) This is the record for the source, or journal title, itself.  We learn that Journal of General Management is an academic, or scholarly journal.


Shows record "Publication Details for "Journal of General Management." Red boxes highlight the publication type as "academic journal" and "peer-reviewed: yes"



Note:  Different databases have different levels of specifcity or terminology in identifying source types.  When in doubt about your source type, ask a librarian!