When it comes to finding resources for assignments, consider the type and quality of information required. The types of information needed depends on the assignment's criteria, where possible use peer reviewed and academic/scholarly resources.

The main types of information you will find when searching are peer-reviewed, academic/scholarly and grey literature.

Peer-reviewed sources are one of the most reliable sources of information, often written by academics and researchers who are experts in their field.

Peer-reviewed also known as refereed, typically refers to journal articles and involves a process of review by one or more experts in the field of study before publication. You can find and limit to these sources using the Library catalogue and in databases by selecting the Peer-Reviewed/Refereed option. You can search Ulrich's Web to check if a journal is peer-reviewed.

Scholarly sources are usually written by academics or researchers who are experts in their field. The information typically focuses on a particular subject area and is intended for an academic audience. The work produced is highly credible and involves a review or editorial process before publication, although not as extensive as peer-review. The most common scholarly sources are journal articles and research level books. These can be found by searching the Library catalogue, databases and Google Scholar.

Grey literature is good quality research produced by Governments, organisations, institutions and academics that is unpublished or published outside academic journals. This includes theses, government reports, statistics and conference proceedings. They are not normally peer-reviewed so ensure you evaluate the source to determine if the information is reliable.

Library guides can help you find grey literature relevant to your discipline area.

Find government reports

Although scholarly and peer-reviewed sources are often used in assignments, you may need to use information from other sources. Non-scholarly sources include those not written for an academic audience, such as current and historical newspaper articles, magazines, primary sources and most websites, including Wikipedia. These sources can be valuable for finding background information on a topic. It is important to evaluate the sources to ensure you use reliable and accurate information.

Is your source suitable?

Once you have a number of sources you think are relevant to your assignment the next step is evaluating to determine the quality, usefulness and reliability of the information. Use your critical thinking skills to evaluate if a source is suitable to use.

Consider the following when deciding to use an information source in your assignment.

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