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Speech 101: Types of Sources & Peer Reviewed

What are the types of sources and why should I care?

Different sources meet different needs.

Find a source type that meets your needs.

Types of Sources

  • Book - more in-depth but dated information
  • Encyclopedia or dictionary - very brief overviews of topics
  • Peer-reviewed journal article - up-to-date information on a topic; peer-review increases the reliability of the information
  • Magazine article - up-to-date information, often not very reliable and/or biased
  • Newspaper article - most up-to-date information on news stories; due to deadlines, information may be inaccurate
  • Government document - information gathered by a government intended for its own use or use by the public
  • Pamphlet - brief information that may be inaccurate or biased
  • Advertisement - always biased information
  • Webpage - wide variety of quality of information and it may be difficult to tell how old the information is
  • Multimedia - video or audio sources with a wide variety of quality of information
  • Blogs, message boards, discussion lists, chat rooms, e-mails - these vary widely in quality

Librarian for Communication Studies & Theatre

Morgan Sederburg's picture
Morgan Sederburg
SBL 123 Box 2115
South Dakota State University
Brookings, SD 57007
(605) 688-5955

Types of information need

Why do you need the information?

  • Have you been diagnosed with a disease and need to know about treatments?
  • Are you trying to win a bet about who won your high school's football game yesterday?
  • Do you have a 4-5 minute speech to give on a topic?
  • Do you want to write a dissertation to finish up a Ph.D?

What kind of information will satisfy your need?

  • If accuracy is important, look for books published by academic or scholarly publishers as well as articles from peer-reviewed or other academic journals.
  • If timeliness is important, especially for a news source, check out newspapers and news magazines.
  • If depth of coverage is important, check out books.
  • If speed of answer is important (e.g. for quiz night), check out web pages

What is Peer Review

Peer-Reviewed 101

Peer-Review Criteria


  • Documentation of sources/background information/literature review (C&RL News)
  • Are there any special ethical concerns arising from the use of human or other animal subjects? (Nature)

Research reported on

  • Methodology (C&RL News)
  • Analysis/Logic of argumentation (C&RL News)
  • Are there other experiments or work that would strengthen the paper further? (Nature)


  • Presentation (C&RL News)
  • Who will be interested in reading the paper, and why? (Nature)
  • How does the paper stand out from others in its field? (Nature)

Scholarly Communication

  • Relevance to advancing knowledge in the field of academic librarianship (C&RL News)
  • Is the paper likely to be one of the five most significant papers published in the discipline this year? (Nature)
  • Are the claims appropriately discussed in the context of previous literature? (Nature)

Find sets of criteria for journals

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