Information sources

Types of information sources

Different types of information sources will become more familiar to you through your degree. Below are some of the most commonly used sources that you'll find you will need to use either in print, or online. To get an idea of information-finding routes, try out the information mind map.


Books, also known as monographs, offer a thorough and systematic treatment of a subject. A library contains many different types of books. They can provide detailed in-depth information on a subject or a general overview. Books are the resource most people look for first when doing research. Many books have chapters and indexes which help you find information contained within them more quickly.


Serial is a collective term for newspaper, magazine, and journal. Serials may also be known as periodicals. They are published at regular intervals (such as daily, weekly, monthly) and may be both print and electronic. If you are not sure about the difference between scholarly and popular publications, watch this video from Hartness College Library:

Media and Audio Visual

The term audio visual (AV) material involves sound and visual images. This includes resources such as television programs, motion pictures, and music recordings. GCU subscribes to a service called Box of Broadcasts which allows you to record and watch terrestrial and Freeview broadcasts within the UK online.

Web Pages

The internet is huge. While there may be lots of sites which will be helpful to you, it is possible to be overwhelmed by the number of results from a search engine.

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SMILE by Imperial College, Loughborough University and the University of Worcester, modified by Marion Kelt Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.