To analyze your information needs, here are some questions to help you determine aspects of your topic that you might wish to explore and types of sources that may be appropriate.
Treatment of Topic / Perspective?
- Do you need overviews or broad coverage of your topic? Do you need a description of an event? If so, explore popular sources, such as magazines or newspapers.
- Do you need facts? Background information? Statistics? If so, you may want to try reference tools, statistical sources, or credible websites.
- Do you need current news or information about trends within a specific industry or type of business and/or information from practitioners in a specific field? If so, try trade journals.
- If you need more in-depth treatment of a topic that may include research studies, consult scholarly sources, such as scholarly journals or books.
- Is timeliness an issue? Do you need current information? If so, look for recent publication dates and newer editions.
- Do you need a historical perspective?
- Do you need a specific subject area or discipline such as business, health sciences, or humanities? Or perhaps a mix?
For example, if you are researching health insurance coverage for alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and massage, would you look for information published in the field of business or for information in the health sciences or both?