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Understanding Different Source Types

Introduction to Different Sources

You are currently in the module on "Understanding Different Sources" in a larger tutorial. Each research tutorial includes modules of topics related to the overall tutorial learning objectives. Please go through all the pages in this module by clicking on the “Next” button on the bottom of the page in order to progress. If you would like to track your progress, be sure to log in with your UNCG credentials at the top right of the module. Each module includes Quick Checks on every page. These Quick Checks do not produce a certificate; they are optional and do not track your progress. Certificates are created by completing a whole tutorial, so be sure to complete all the modules within a tutorial in order to generate a certificate. You can also take a screenshot of your progress page. 

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Time needed to complete this module: 10 minutes

Stack of papers, decorative

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Learning Objectives: 

  • Consider different ways to categorize sources
  • Describe the BEAM method for using sources based on function
  • Identify methods for locating different types of sources

When you’re doing research, you’re likely to come across all kinds of different sources. Depending on where you search, you might find books, journal articles, newspaper articles, blog posts, websites, social media posts, multimedia sources, encyclopedias, reports, and more! In this module, you’ll explore different options for comparing and categorizing sources and will consider when and how you might use different types of sources. 

Before you move to the next page of this module, take a look at this infographic about different source types

Image version of Sources "Know Your Sources" Infographic

This infographic from Portland Community College Library introduces the following factors you might consider when deciding whether a particular type of source meets your information needs:

  • Total number published each day (which compares how quickly a source can be published)
  • Degree of scrutiny before a source is published (which considers how many experts or fact-checkers review a source before it is made available to the public as well as how much time these reviewers spend)
  • Number of outside sources (which compares the typical number of outside sources cited or used in different types of sources)
  • Background knowledge (which considers who much knowledge a reader or viewer needs to have to understand a source, distinguishing between basic, moderate, and advanced)

This is one framework you can use to think about different types of sources, and we’ll cover other common approaches to categorizing and comparing sources in the rest of this module. 

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