Skip to Main Content


A beginner's guide to library research for students working on FYRE projects in INQ 101!

Types of Sources

Do you know the difference between a primary and a secondary source? What about scholarly and trade publications? Click on the link below to find out!

These are different types of information you'll want to gather for your project:

Background Information

  • This type of information gives you context so you can understand the conversation other people are having about your topic. Encyclopedias are an excellent source of background information, and whole books on a topic will almost always include some kind of introduction.

Current Information

  • This is what's happening RIGHT NOW. Newspapers and magazines are usually good sources for current events, but you can also use things like social media and blogs to get a sense of where the conversation on a topic is at this moment in time.

Academic/Scholarly Information

  • This type of information is produced by scholars for scholars and can usually be found in academic journals or scholarly books. The language can be quite specialized and difficult, so don't be afraid to do background reading first, use a dictionary, ask for help from your professor or a librarian, or choose an article that seems more on your level.

Alternate Opinions/Arguments/Solutions

  • This type of information can be found just about anywhere, but it's important to be aware of disagreements that are cropping up in your area of research so you can either address them or incorporate them. Never pretend that alternative views just don't exist!

Start with the Library Website

If you have a paper to write or a project to do, there are lots of ways to start your research, but your best bet is to see what the Library has first.

1. Research Guides, arranged by subject, let you know some of the key resources for your area.

2. SouthernSearch, SCSU's portal for the library catalog of the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system, shows where you can find books and other items physically in the library and throughout the CSCU system, plus online articles and ebooks. [see Finding Sources]

3. Ask a librarian. We're here to help!