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Research Essentials

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Select options on the left for sources and strategies to find:

Books – Academic books offer broad, comprehensive, and/or in-depth coverage of a topic. Can be useful early in research to skim for a general overview of a topic, or later to read carefully for in-depth and thorough analysis. Books take time, often years, to publish, so not good for the latest findings on current topics.  

Articles in academic journals – Typically more narrow and focused than books, articles report authors’ research findings. Review articles combine and analyze results from a number of other articles on the same topic. Reviewed by other scholars in the relevant field before publication; take less time to publish than books, but peer review takes some time so they are not up-to-the minute findings on current topics.

Articles in magazines or newspapers – Good for news and opinions on current events and topics. Old articles reveal perspectives and ideas of people at the time of historical events. Often articles are fact-checked but they do not go through the rigorous peer review process of academic articles.

Other, including:

Primary sources – Direct, uninterpreted evidence about or records of the subject of your research project. A primary source is as close as you can get to the event, person, phenomenon, or other subject of your research.

Data and statistics – You can use a statistical summary to illustrate or support a point. Or, download a dataset to perform statistical analyses to answer a question.