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Super Twofer: MCC101, ENG151, PSY151

What Kind of Information Do You Have?

Before you set out to evaluate a source and decide if it's useful for your research needs, you need to know what kind of information you have. Knowing more about it can help you evaluate it properly. Is it a popular source like a newspaper article written by a journalist? Or is it a scholarly source with original research that was written and reviewed by experts?


Format refers to how information is packaged.

  • Some information formats appear in print and online.
  • Different formats undergo different publication processes.
  • Online formats can be updated and shared quickly. Print books and academic journals take the longest to be published.
  • Formats present information differently for different purposes. Academic journals share research for other scholars. Newspapers share breaking news and community reactions. Primary sources share first-hand accounts by those who were directly involved.

Some formats are better than others for your purpose.

Examples of Information Formats

  • Government documents - print or online
  • Primary sources - print or online
  • News media - print or online
  • Magazines - print or online
  • Books - print or ebooks
  • Academic journals - print or online
  • Videos and audio
  • General website (such as: social media, blog, non-profit organization, editorial, entertainment) 

Source Type

Source refers to the actual information content. All sources require some level of evaluation. Knowing what kind of source you have will help you evaluate it properly.

There are a range of source types, but the two ends are popular and scholarly.