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How do I: Find Appropriate Sources of Information

This guide covers Information, Media, and Digital Literacy concepts and Digital Citizenship for Gr. 9-12 students, as well as teacher and parents.

Find Appropriate Sources of Information

Find Synonyms: Use a Dictionary or a Thesaurus

Secondary Sources: How to read a journal article

What kinds of sources are there?

Reference Sources are an excellent place to start your research because they:

  • Provide a good introduction to a topic
  • Provide brief, factual information
  • Summarize and clarify issues
  • Define unfamiliar terms
  • Identify additional relevant sources such as books or websites

Examples of Reference Sources:

  • Encyclopedias
  • Dictionaries
  • Handbooks
  • Almanacs

Reference:

Memorial University Librarires.  (2013).  What are Reference Sources?  Retrieved from http://www.library.mun.ca/guides/howto/reference.php 

Primary Source is a document, record, or work created at the time of an event or by a person who directly experienced an event.  A Primary Source contains original data and is from the time period being researched; it has not yet been filtered through interpretation.

Examples:

  • Artifacts (e.g. coins, plant specimens, fossils, furniture, tools, clothing, all from the time under study)
  • Audio Recordings (e.g. radio programs)
  • Diaries
  • Interviews
  • Letters
  • Newspaper Articles
  • Photographs
  • Speaches
  • Video Recordings
  • Works of art, architecture, literature, and music (e.g., paintings, sculptures, musical scores, buildings, novels, poems).

References:

      University of Maryland Libaries.  (2013).  Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources.  Retrieved from http://www.lib.umd.edu/ues/guides/primary-sources#primary 

      University of Victoria Libraries.  (2013).  Primary or Secondary Sources.  Retrieved from http://www.uvic.ca/library/research/tips/primvsec/index.php

*The above references are in APA format.

A Secondary Source is an account written after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.  A Secondary Source usually describes, interprets, summarizes, analyzes, evaluates, is derived from, or is based on Primary Source materials.

Examples:

  • Books and Textbooks about past events/people
  • Biographies
  • Historical films
  • Music and art about a past events/person
  • Articles about past events/people

References:

   University of Maryland Libaries.  (2013).  Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources.  Retrieved from http://www.lib.umd.edu/ues/guides/primary-sources#primary

   University of Victoria Libraries.  (2013).  Primary or Secondary Sources.  Retrieved from http://www.uvic.ca/library/research/tips/primvsec/index.php

What is a journal article?

The majority of the VLC databases for Grade 9-12 contain journal articles, but do you know what a journal article is? 

The defining characteristics of a scholarly journal article are:

  • It has likely undergone the peer-review process - peer reviewed articles are a reliable source of information (see the below link for more information)
  • It is approximately 8-30 pages in length
  • It is written by scholars 
  • It contains many citations to other research
  • It is usually written about a very specific topic