There are many ways to distinguish KINDS of source. One of the most basic but least useful is Print vs. Electronic. So many kinds of materials can shift between these, that it's not a really useful distinction.

The more important distinctions have to do with:

  • reliability
  • depth
  • accessibility / specialization

Good research generally requires many individual source and a RANGE of different kinds. There is no single perfect source. Nor is it always best to rely on print, or only scholarly sources. Each kind of source has particular pros and cons for a given research question.

Here is one map of sources.. Text only version.

Accessing these different kinds of sources obviously requires different kinds of searching, with different tools, in different places ... our job for the next few weeks.

Your Goal: A working bibliography that reflects a number (12+) of sources you anticipate finding useful and relevant in the exploration of your research question. Usually a broad variety of sources reflects good research (balance of books, articles, websites, other; mix of academic, popular, etc.). When you have a good number of sources, it can be useful to step back and survey the TYPES. If you have only personal websites, for instance, you may want to continue searching for government, educational, or commercial resources to counter them.



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