Once you have analysed your question and identified the key concepts, you need to identify what sources of information to use.



There are a range of academic sources you can use for your assignments.

Encyclopaedias & dictionariesThese are good for background information to clarify the meaning of your topic and to check for synonyms for your keywords
BooksBooks summarise a topic or research in a coherent manner. They may include textbooks, collections of essays written by individual authors or an extended analysis of a specific topic.
Journal articlesJournal articles report current research within a specific discipline. They are published in journals on a regular basis, and include details such as year of publication, volume, issue and page numbers
Other sourcesGovernment and statistical reports, theses, videos, company information, annual reports and other sources may also be useful depending on your assignment.


When you are looking for resources for your assignment, you need to consider how authoritative each source is. There are three types of sources with varying levels of authority:

Peer reviewedPeer reviewed journal articles go through a process of review by one or more experts in the field of study before they are published. They are the most reliable and authoritative sources of information. Your lecturers will often require you to use peer reviewed articles in your assignment.
You can find peer reviewed articles using Library Search by selecting the 'Peer reviewed' filter. Many databases also allow you to limit your search to peer reviewed articles.
ScholarlyScholarly resources are usually written by academics or researchers who are experts in their area of research. These researchers have authority in their field and produce highly credible work.

The most common scholarly resource is a journal article. Some books can also be considered a scholarly resource. Books which are written by academic experts for an academic audience are likely to be scholarly. While they do not usually undergo peer review, they are subject to the scrutiny of the editorial process.
Non-scholarlyAlthough scholarly and peer reviewed sources are often the focus for university assignments, you still may need to use information from a non-academic author. Non-scholarly resources include those not written for an academic audience, like newspaper articles, government reports, magazines and most web sites including Wikipedia.
These sources can be a great place to find background information about a topic, but it is important to  evaluate your resources so that you are using reliable and accurate information.


It is your responsibility to find out which types of resources to use for your assignment. Refer to your unit guide or ask your tutor for help.