Books - Journal articles - Databases

For example, journal articles contain the most up-to-date information. They can also be very concise.

However, be aware that depending on the publication, this material may or may not be refereed. You can safely use material or information from a refereed journal because it is reliable and timely.

Non-refereed journals often have less rigorous standards of screening before publication. (Some may still be considered scholarly.)

Books are not as up-to-date. They can be good starting points where you can expand a topic. They are also good for literature reviews.

Newspapers are intended for a general audience and therefore the information they contain may be of limited use. They can show recent trends, discoveries or changes. Be aware that they do not give unbiased information.

The Internet is the fastest growing source of information. But remember, anyone can post information onto the Internet. Much that is posted is for general readers and must be used for care.


All information, regardless of the source should be tested for:

  • Relevance
  • Currency
  • Reliability
  • Accuracy

Be aware... all information is not created equal.

Learn to recognise what is fact and what is an opinion, what is objective or subjective research or information. Be aware that bias even influences the structure of something as “bland" as an encyclopaedia.