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Speech 101 (CMST-101): Source Types Overview

Source Types

For more information on source types see the Research 101 Guide.

Sources Types Overview

Source Type



Use For


Vary from general interest to scholarly titles, University Presses generally produce scholarly sources

Reality TV : Remaking Television Culture

Think Tanks in America

Western Places, American Myths

Overview of topic, in-depth coverage of topic, consult index and table of contents to locate information relevant to your topic

Reference Books: General Encyclopedias, Subject Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, Handbooks, Chronologies, Etc.

Authoritative and concise information sources, often compilations from many contributors

Encyclopedia of Children Adolescents, and the Media

Handbook of Engaged Scholarship

Dictionary of Food Ingredients

Topic ideas, overview of topic, background information, quick facts, consult bibliographies to identify additional sources


Articles written by journalists for the general public, frequent publishing (often daily) provides up-to-date information, articles usually short

New York Times

Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Le Monde

Current information, coverage of international, national, and local events, opinion pieces in addition to factual information

Periodicals: Magazines

Articles written by journalists for the general public



Psychology Today

Overview of topic, information on popular culture and current events

Periodicals: Trade Journals

Practical information for  professionals to help them keep up-to-date in their field

Advertising Age

American Biology Teacher

Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration News

News, analysis, opinion, job ads, product information

Periodicals: Academic Journals

Articles written by experts for an educated or professional audience, articles often longer but narrow in scope, research oriented, may be peer-reviewed

New England Journal of Medicine

Communication Quarterly

Journal of American Culture

In-depth information, scholarly sources, original research, reviews of research on a topic, consult bibliographies to identify additional sources

Government Documents

Information published by government agencies

U.S. Census data

Legislative hearings

National Institutes of Health research

Many applications: Overview of topic, quick facts, in-depth analysis, research reports, statistics


Broadcasts, news, images, audio files, videos, films

Online news clip

Dances with Wolves video

Transcript of National Public Radio program

Many applications: News, opinion, primary sources, pop culture, background information

Web Sources

Wide variety of sources, offering many perspectives, evaluate sources carefully as many are not edited or fact-checked

The Huffington Post

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

Topic ideas, overview of topic, opinions, information from professional organizations, quick facts, commercial perspectives—.com sites

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