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Hajian: Digital Literacy 21: II: Types of Sources

3 Types of Periodicals

Magazines - written by journalists.  Published weekly, biweekly, monthly or bimonthly.  

Newspapers - written by journalists.  Published daily or weekly.

Academic Journals - written by specialists in the field (professors, scientists, professionals, doctors, etc.).  More complex, detailed articles with lots of research and/or studies.  Published bimonthly or quarterly.  


Reference Sources

Reference Sources are great resources to use as you begin your research.  They provide background information and overviews of topics.  


Almanac - Compilation of facts and statistics

Atlas - a book of maps, charts and geographical information.

Dictionary Definitions of terms.  Can be general (ex. Merriam-Webster) or for a specific subject (ex. Science Dictionary)

Encyclopedia Comprehensive summaries of factual information.  Can be general (ex. World Book) or for a specific subject ( ex. Encyclopedia of World War II).   

Handbook- Short, informative explanations on a topic.




Website - a collection of related webpages that can be created by anyone and are usually FREE

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Primary Sources - Original, first-hand account of an event or time period.  Examples include:  autobiographies, interviews, newspapers, photos, artwork, laws, speeches, government reports, letters, diaries, etc. 

Secondary Sources - Describe or discuss events or subjects.  Written by someone who has researched the topic.  Examples:  Biographies, Non-fiction books, encyclopedia articles, websites, etc.  


Databases -

  • Think of a database as a specialized online reference library.  They contain specialized reference articles, academic journal, magazine and newspaper articles, images, video, primary sources and links to authoritative websites.
  • Organized by subject or type of periodical (newspaper, magazine or journal).
  • Articles written or chosen by experts and those knowledgeable of subject matter.  
  • Fee-based (Cost $$$$$) - paid by library or school.