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NRS538 Research Skills Guide: Where to Find Information


The sources of information you use will depend upon the question you need to address in your assessment tasks. These are the most common sources you would use in your assignments, along with their main features.

Source type: Use this source to:
  • Get an overview, introduction, and/or background on a topic
  • Get in-depth information about a broad topic.
Journal article
  • Access the latest research and ideas on your topic
  • Learn about varied perspectives on a topic
  • Examine a topic in very specific detail.
Clinical guidelines
  • Identify current recommendations for clinical practice.
Policy documents
  • Identify legal and mandated processes and procedures for clinical practice.
  • Familiarise yourself with the topic
  • Find background or introductory information
  • Locate reports and documents from government, academic, or professional organisations.

Reference material

(dictionaries, encyclopaedias)

  • Find factual and statistical information on a topic
  • Get an overview of a subject
  • Find definitions
  • Use subject specific resources to decipher the "jargon" of your topic.


CSU Library has a series of 5 videos on different sources of information. In the box below, click on the menu icon at top left to view the video playlist:

  • Sources of information - Books
  • Sources of information - Journal articles
  • Sources of information - Websites
  • Sources of information - Reference resources
  • Sources of information - Newspapers.

There are more video tutorials available at the Library's Training Tutorials & Videos webpage.


Not all information sources are good quality scholarly ones suitable for use in your assessment tasks. Watch the short video below to help you to distinguish between popular and scholarly information.

Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.