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Key research skills

The Information Cycle

Compare Information Resources

Review the following comparisons to get an idea of the value and purpose of each resource.

Websites

Strengths

  • Up to the minute news
  • Current events, trends, and controversial topics
  • Subject specific information e.g. Shakespeare Resource Center
  • Free online books, videos and articles
  • Governmental information and statistics
  • Primary sources

Weaknesses

  • No standards for reliability
  • Anyone can publish a website results in misinformation
  • Overwhelming number of results
  • Possible access fees
  • Personal opinions are widespread
  • Difficult to fine-tune or limit your search results

Newspapers

Strengths

  • Current day's events
  • Factual - includes background information
  • May include chronology of events
  • Written by journalists
  • Personal opinions and editorials on issues
  • May include photographs and eyewitness interviews
  • Primary sources

Weaknesses

  • Sensational headlines to increase sales
  • Doesn't provide in-depth articles
  • The account of the event may be revised over time
  • Not based on extensive research
  • Not scholarly or peer-reviewed
  • Often written for a specific audience and may have a bias

News & Popular Magazines

Strengths

  • Variety of general topics
  • Current news, topics, and trends
  • Statistics
  • Written by journalists or professional writers
  • Shorter articles than peer-reviewed or scholarly publications
  • Content reviewed by editors

Weaknesses

  • Not peer-reviewed or scholarly
  • Not based on extensive research
  • Typically doesn't include a list of references for further reading
  • Often written for a specific audience and may have a bias

Books

Strengths

  • Reviewed by editors (increases reliability)
  • University press publishers indicate quality
  • Often includes historical information & statistics
  • Background information on topic
  • Explores a topic in depth
  • Scholarly
  • Primary sources
  • Concise topical information available in encyclopedias
  • Often includes bibliographies for further research

Weaknesses

  • Can take years to write and be published
  • Information may be outdated
  • Not always the best source for current topics
  • Possible author or publisher bias

Where to Find Different Information Resources

Use library databases for articles from newspapers, magazines, peer-reviewed and scholarly journals.

Different Information Resources

Important Terms

Build Your Skills

Complete the "Determine the Best Resources" section to pinpoint the resources most useful for your paper.

Disclaimer

Yavapai College does not necessarily endorse nor condone content found on third-party websites. Links are provided as a convenience only.