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Field Guide to Research Sources

What type of source did you find? Use this field guide to identify it.

How to use this guide


Research is like birdwatching. You find things, and then you try to identify what you found.

What type of bird did I find? Should I log it as a thrush or a warbler or a vireo? To answer these questions, consult a field guide. The field guide will show you the distinguishing characteristics of each type of bird.

What type of source did I find? Should I cite it as a journal article or a government document or a webpage? To answer these questions, browse this online field guide. The guide will show you the distinguishing characteristics of each type of source.

To use this guide, browse the different types of sources in the menu, and look for one that matches the source you're trying to identify. After you've identified the source, the next step is to cite the source using a particular style, such as APA or MLA or Chicago/Turabian style. For help with citing, see Simpson Library's citation guide.

Note: This field guide guide will help you identify the most common types of sources, but it doesn't cover every type of source. For more information, or for help with identifying a particular source, ask a friendly Simpson Librarian.