Selecting Types of Information Sources
 Instructions:  Make a choice
Use these suggestions to help you decide when to use different types of information sources.
Books Internet Sites Primary Sources
Subscription Databases Magazine and Journal Articles Interviews
 Books - use books when:
1. There is a large amount of text to read.
Reason: Many students do not like to read multiple pages on computer screens.          
2. You need a variety of different kinds of related information in one place.              
Example: An almanac lists mountain heights, river lengths, waterfall heights, and ocean depths all within a few pages. It would take a number of online searches to find all of those charts, which would take too long.
Example: Peterson's Guide to Distance Learning Programs lists colleges with online courses. It would take hours to find this information by searching individual college Web sites.
works cited
Subscription Databases  - use subscription databases when:
1. You want online information you can trust to be reliable.              
Reason: Not all Internet sites contain information you can trust, since anyone can make web sites.
2. You need quality information centered around a particular focus.
Example: Litfinder has poems, analysis of poems, and information about poets all in one database.
 Internet Sites - Use Internet Sites when:
 1. You need recent statistics.
Reason: Information can be put on Internet sites more quickly than it can be printed in magazines or books.
2. You need images related to your topic.              
Reason: Internet sites often contain pictures, charts, and graphs to support your ideas.
Magazine and Journal Articles - Use Magazine or Journal Articles when:
1. You need recent information written by experts in a field.
Reason: Journals articles are carefully selected by editors before being printed, and come out much more quickly than books are written and printed.
2. You want reports on research done by professionals.              
Reason: Summaries of studies conducted by experts are printed in journals.
Primary Sources - Use Primary Sources when:
Definition: Primary sources are original documents that were created at the time an event occurred. They reflect direct personal experiences of the time in which they were created.
1. You want first-hand information so you can form your own opinions about events
Example: Newspapers and TV shows discuss and interpret presidential speeches. Reading the actual text of the speeches allows you to form your own opinions about what was said.
Interviews - Use Interviews when:
1. You want to get a personal viewpoint.          
Reason: Written information has been interpreted by the author.  
2. Nothing has been written about a topic, but you know someone who lived through it.     
Reason: Individuals often have wonderful information and viewpoints that can help your research.
 Works Cited
Guide to Distance Learning Programs. (2002) Princeton, NJ: Peterson's. Print.

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