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Information Literacy Modules: Selection of Sources

Selection of sources

The first step in evaluating your sources should be to review your assignment for the specific criteria outlined by your professor and fully understand the type of sources you need.  That means, you should know what kind of information is required. Do you need a book, or more current information? For example, if you need information about a recent event, you can get that from a newspaper or magazine? What is your timeframe for the information? Is this a current affairs project, or a review of current medical literature? Knowing the kind of information, you need is your first step in selecting and then evaluating the sources you will use in securing information.

You, also, need to know if you need primary sources or secondary sources.

Some assignments require a primary source.  Primary sources include historical and legal documents, letters, eyewitness accounts, results of experiments, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, audio and video recordings, speeches, and art objects. Many of our digital resources, will provide primary sources for you to use in doing research.

Secondary sources describe, discuss, interpret, comment upon, analyze, evaluate, summarize, and process primary sources. Secondary source materials can be articles in newspapers or popular magazines, book or movie reviews, or articles found in scholarly journals that discuss or evaluate someone else's original research.

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