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Physical Therapist Assistant Program Guide

General purpose guide with resources and research tips pertaining to physical therapist assistant program and courses

Types of Information Sources

Why is there always so much information!?

image of different source typesInformation is written for different purposes.

  • to instruct, inform, or educate
  • to persuade or convince
  • to amuse or entertain

Information is written for different audiences.

  • scholarly - scientists and medical experts, professors, instructors, and academics
  • professional - medical, legal, technology workers
  • general - the community

Information is presented in different formats.

  • print - books, articles, magazines, newspapers, reports, field notes
  • electronic and digital - books, articles, magazines, newspapers, websites
  • audio - interviews, music, podcasts
  • visual - video, maps, charts, images
  • physical - artifacts, bones, or other materials

How do I choose the right kind of source?

Always consider the type of information you need and what you need it for. Choose information sources that are appropriate to your purpose, audience, and preferred format.

Most of the resources collected on this guide are intended to inform or educate (their purpose) and are written for scholarly or professional readers (their audience). Use the navigation on the left to learn more about some different source formats you may encounter in your studies. 

If you're really not sure which kind of source to consult to answer your question, please reach out to a librarian. We're happy to help!

Evaluating Sources - You are the filter!

Is this a good source?

information filterWhen selecting sources, there are two main questions to ask as you decide whether or not it will meet your needs:

  • Is this source relevant to my information need?

  • Is this a trustworthy source?

There are other considerations which can help you answer those (potentially complex) questions, but it's important to keep in mind that the best sources should answer your question and be quality sources deserving of your trust.

A quick overview of how to evaluate a source:

  1. Take a quick look through your source to understand its contents
  2. Assess if it contains the information you need to answer your question or solve your problem
  3. Do some thinking:
    Consider the source's creator, intended audience, and purpose.
    Go "upstream" and track down the original source of the information.
    Read other sources to verify the facts.
  4. Make an informed decision on whether your source is worth trusting or if you should keep looking for another source instead

The sources included on this guide are generally of high quality and good credibility, but it's always important to keep your information filter turned ON. 

Looking for more information on evaluating sources?

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