What Sources Should You Use?

For most research, a good starting point is getting background information from an encyclopedia or other reference source. After obtaining an overview, you'll most often need to look for more detailed information.

For some assignments you may need information from scholarly or professional journals...  
cover of American Journal of Philology
collage of magazine covers ...while others may require information from books, reference resources, magazine and newspapers from online databases, popular magazines, or even the internet.

Do You Need to Use Primary Sources?

In most cases, you will use secondary sources such as books and articles. However, sometimes your assignment may require you to use primary sources such as diaries, interviews, letters, or raw data.

examples of primary sources including the diary of Ann Frank, a personal letter, and table of data

Do You Need Information in a Particular Format?

In addition to using print materials, your assignment may require you to use other types of sources such as visual/graphic sources (art prints, slides, maps) numeric sources (statistics), audio sources (cassette tapes, CDs), or electronic sources (listservs, computer files, the Web).


Library of Congress Web site map of the United States
Chapter 1 — Page 9