Types of information sources

When asked to find information, it's tempting to just "Google" it.  But information can come from virtually anywhere — media, blogs, personal experiences, books, journal and magazine articles, expert opinions, encyclopedias, and web pages — and the type of information you need will change depending on the question you are trying to answer.  The following provides a brief overview of some types of resources you might want to look at:

Encyclopedias
Encyclopedias are collections of short, factual entries often written by different contributors who are knowledgeable about the topic. Encyclopedias are great when you are looking for background information on a topic, when trying to find key ideas, or important dates or concepts.  Try looking in our Reference section or at an online encyclopedia such as Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand or Encyclopaedia Britannica (available via Epic, ask Mrs Phillips for the password).

Books
Books cover virtually any topic, fact or fiction, and are a great source of reliable information. To find books on the subject you are researching use our catalogue, ask Mrs Phillips for help, or try your local Christchurch City Library.

Magazine/journal articles
Magazine and journal articles are another great reliable source. Use magazines when you are looking for information or opinions about popular culture, to find up-to-date information about current events, or to find general articles for people who are not necessarily specialists on the topic. Journal articles are usually written by scholars in an academic or professional field and can cover very specific topics or narrow fields of research. Search Epic to find both magazine and journal articles (ask Mrs Phillips for the password).

Websites
The Web allows you to access most types of information on the Internet through a browser. One of the main features of the Web is the ability to quickly link to other related information. The Web contains information beyond plain text, including sounds, images, and video. The important thing to do when using information on the Internet is to know how to evaluate it! Use websites to find current information, to find information from government agencies, to find both expert and popular opinions, and to find information about hobbies and personal interests.

Source: Virginia Tech University Libraries http://www.lib.vt.edu/help/research/info-sources.html accessed 9 April 2015

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