RIT Libraries: How Do I....?: Choose the best sources?

Information on how to use and navigate the RIT Library resources
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What type of source do I need?

There are many different types of sources to choose from when searching a database or library catalog.  You will see results that provide you with access to different types of published media, including:

  • books
  • scholarly articles
  • news articles
  • videos
  • reviews
  • electronic and print materials

Be sure to review your assignment requirements, and consult your professor, to make sure you are at least meeting the requirements for the types of sources you include in your project.

Many professors require that you use scholarly articles in your work.  Some will require a variety of source types.

As you are searching various databases and using Summon, look for articles that are labeled "Full Text."  Articles available in Full Text online are one of your best resources for compiling your reports.  Summon, and many of the libraries' databases, will offer and "Full-Text Online" filter to help you narrow your results. 

Evaluating Quality and Credibility

Once you have identified several sources for your work, you need to make sure they are quality sources.  There are many different factors that determine a source's "quality," but one of the most important pieces is making sure that the information provided by that source is credible.  To identify which information sources will be valuable, ask yourself the following questions about the information you've found:

  • Who wrote this?
  • Where was this information published?
  • Who is the intended audience for this source?
  • Is this a primary or a secondary source?
  • How long ago was this piece written?

Answering these questions will help you to identify information that is relevant to your research, current, contains relatively low bias (although contrasting viewpoints can provide interesting perspective in your project), and applicable to the correct field of study. 

Tips From Other Institutions

There are several other institutions that have compiled more specific criteria for credibility.  Check out some websites from other universities to see what they think will help you evaluate your sources.

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