Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Library Research Skills for College Students: Step-by-Step

A step-by-step in-depth start to finish guide through the research process.

The Types of Information Used in Research

choose icon

 

 

Information is Written for Different Purposes

 

 

  • The purpose of background information is provides you with the basic facts about a topic.
    • Use reference sources like Credo Reference to find general information
    • Good for introducing your audience to your topic when writing a research paper or essay
    • Works well for speeches and presentations
  • The purpose of scholarly information is to examine a specific aspect of a topic in great detail.
    • Use peer-reviewed or scholarly articles from academic journals to find this information
    • Used in scientific and other professiona research studies
    • Also found in scholarly books and eBooks
    • Necessary for research papers and most essays
  • The purpose of popular information is to provide facts an opinions about a topic in a way that a general audience will understand
    • Use articles from  popular sources - newspapers, magazines, library books, television streaming video, podcasts, websites and other online media, etc.
    • Works well for speeches, presentations, and demos

Information iconInformation is Written for Different Audiences

  • Who will read your paper or watch your video or presentation? Thinking about who your audience is - your instructor, classmates, toddler  - will guide you in your choice of research materials.
  • general - your classmates for example
  • children of all ages - toddler, pre-school, elementary school, middle school
  • scholarly - scientists and medical experts, professors, instructors, and academics
  • professional - the business,legal, technology communities, administrators in all fields

Study iconInformation is Presented in Different Formats

If you are writing a research paper likely you will find the information you need in a print book or electronic database article. But if you are giving a speech about plant species in the region you may want to show an actual plant sample.

  • print - books, magazines, newspapers, reports, field notes, diaries, journals,
  • electronic and digital - books, magazines, newspapers, websites
  • audio - music, podcasts, interviews
  • visual - video, maps, charts, images, photographic, comics
  • physical - bones, fossils, plants, insects, artifacts

Learn more about different types of information at the links below!


Western Technical College
Western Technical College Learning Commons
Student Success Center, Room 201
400 7th Street North
La Crosse, WI 54601
learningcommons@westerntc.edu
State Relay: 711
EEO Statement

Learn more about Western and the Learning Commons.
The Learning Commons provides library and academic support services on campus and online. The Learning Commons will set you up for success!

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. For details and exceptions, see the Library Copyright Statement.
©2020, Western Technical College

If you are experiencing disability related accessibility issues with any information on this website, please email AccessServices@westerntc.edu or call 608-785-9524.