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Assignment Essentials: Step 2: Identify Resources

Identify Information Sources

Academic Books
Dictionaries and encyclopedias
Reference books are useful to clarify a definition, provide a brief introduction to a topic or concept, or clarify a procedure.  The Library has a wide range of dictionaries and encyclopedias, including subscriptions to online dictionaries and encyclopedias. Some are general in coverage like the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) which can be found in the Reference Collection at the Call number R423 OXFO or online.  Some are quite subject specific in coverage for example The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. Use subject dictionaries to find definitions of key terms.

General encyclopedias cover broad disciplines, while subject encyclopedias explain concepts in greater depth. They often contain references to additional sources at the end of each entry.  Encyclopedia of management theory is an example of an online subject specific encyclopedia.

Use the Catalogue or OneSearch to find Dictionaries and enclyclopedias.

Monographs are books or individually published works. They include non-fiction books, textbooks, conference proceedings, theses, government reports. These will often be a major information source for an assignment.  Use the Library Catalogue or OneSearch to locate monographs.

Scholarly books contain authoritative information and this can include comprehensive accounts of research or scholarship, historical data, overviews, experts' views on themes/topics. Use a book when you require background information and related research on a topic, when you want to add depth to a research topic or put your topic in context with other important issues.  At UCC,  scholarly books can be in print or electronic formats.
Because it can take years, in some instances, to write and publish books, they are not always the best sources for current topics.

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What key sources should I use?

In the academic environment, the following sources are often used:

Academic books (print & e-format)
Scholarly journals (e-journals & print)
Published reports
They can supplement the list of references in you have been given by your lecturers.


Types of resources

Types of Information sources from the University of Notre Dame

copyright © 2016 | Begin Your Research tutorial content by permission from UC Irvine Libraries' Department of Education and Outreach. TIP information literacy tutorial content adapted by permission from University of Wyoming. Where not otherwise noted, images and media originate with Hesburgh Libraries, University of Wyoming, or University of California Irvine Libraries Department of Education and Outreach. Leprechaun icon courtesy of Freepik.

Finding Articles

Find journals and journal articles

Journals are collections of articles that are published on a regular basis to report current research within a discipline.

A journal is made up of a number of volumes
Each volume is made up of individual issues
Each issue of a journal is made up of journal articles
Journal articles report specific aspects of the research covered by a journal.

Scholarly Databases are there to help you search across a wide range of articles on a particular topic


Why you need to use databases for research

Where do you go to find information for your school projects and reports? Where do you go to find authoritative, credible and current information?  Where do you go to find information that you can trust and which does not have to be tediously evaluated for authority, credibility and currency? Even better, where can you find information easily, quickly and it even gives you the citation already formatted for you for the particular referencing format required by your lecturers.  The answer is: library databases.

What is a library database?  A library database is an indexed collection of magazine, journal, newspaper articles, abstracts, and other information, which has been checked for accuracy and reliability by publishers and then licensed for distribution in online/electronic format.