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Building a Library Research Strategy: Where to Search

This guide will help students develop a research strategy for finding information for papers or projects.


Where you look depends on the kinds of information you need. This chart helps to illustrate how information is created and produced.

It can help determine where you'll go for the information you need. Good search strategies often include multiple types of sources.Chart showing spectrum of information on the internet versus library databases

Information to the left of the dotted line:

The information to the left of the dotted line is information found on the Internet, which includes Wikipedia, online news sources and broadcast media. This information is produced quickly; sometimes daily, hourly, or second to second. 

Information to the right of the dotted line:

The information to the right of the dotted line includes information in electronic formats (found online) or in print formats. These types of information include books, scholarly journals, encyclopedia articles, and raw data. These information types can take up to months or years to produce. They cannot always be found on the free web (like in a Google search), but can be found through the library

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What are Primary and Secondary Sources? Scholarly or Popular Sources? Peer Review?

You'll find a whole guide to answer any questions about identifying sources.

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