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Introduction to Scholarly Research: Source Selection

An introduction to scholarly research for use in CWRR I classes.

Source Selection

What kinds of sources do I need?

To select the best source for information, you first need to understand what the differences are among the various kinds of sources that provide us information. By doing so, you will be better able to zero in on the kind of information you are looking for and maximize your search time.

Information Source   Information Need Publication Frequency Intended Audience Weakness


clipart of a book

Background information. Historical information. Statistics. Bibliography of other sources. Varies. Books may take up to 2 years to be published. General public to experts. Information may be dated.


Time magazine cover

Current Information. Short articles, easy to understand. Photographs and illustrations. Weekly, biweekly, or monthly. General public. Authors may not be experts. Lack of depth. Sources not cited.

Trade Publications

cover of a trade journal

Specialized information related to a particular field. Medium length articles. Brief bibliographies. Weekly, biweekly, or monthly Those interested in a particular subject area and professionals in the area. Geared towards those with some understanding of the field.

Scholarly Journals

cover of a scholarly journal


In depth information, written by experts. Bibliography of other sources. Charts and graphs. Recent research on a topic. Monthly, quarterly, or biannually. Professionals in a field. May be difficult to understand.


Chicago Tribune logo

Current information. Daily or weekly. General public. Authors usually not experts.


Google logo


Statistics. Varied points of view on a topic. Company websites. May be updated continuously. Check for update date. General public. Need to carefully verify credibility/accuracy.