Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Library Instruction: Sources

What types of sources can I use?

Framing Your Research

Framing Your Research

When trying to decide if a source is pertinent to your research question or topic, it can be helpful to ask yourself: What could a writer do with this source? Could this source provide background facts or information? Could I analyze or interpret this source for my reader? Could this source refine my question or extend my thesis? Could this source be a lens for interpreting competing findings?


Is it Library gobbledy-gook? What we mean to say:

  • Bibliography: A bibliography is a list of all of the sources that authors, including you, use in the process of researching and writing. In general, a citation in a bibliography should include:  Author, Title, Publisher, Place of Publication, and Date of Publication.
  • Primary Source: Primary Source is used to describe several different types of sources. In the Sciences a Primary Source is an original research article. In the Humanities, a primary source could be the text of a novel or it could be an artifact like a map or a diary.
  • Scholarly Source: Scholarly sources are different from news sources because rather than reporting an event, scholarly sources ask and answer questions through some form of analysis. Scholarly sources are written by experts-- people who know a lot about their subject like professors-- and they also refer to other sources in a works cited/references list to show where their information came from originally.