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Visual Arts & Music Resources

A research guide for Visual Arts/Music & Technology students.

As in "to weed out the..."


Currency

  • When was it published?
  • Is the information accurate for when it was written?
  • How current is it?
  • Does the author keep it updated?

Reliability

  • Does the author provide references to back up their arguments?
  • Does the source provide valuable, relevant information?
  • Has the author looked at the material objectively?

Authority

  • Who created this source?
  • Does the author represent an organization?
  • What are the author's credentials?


Purpose/point-of-view

  • Is this fact or opinion?
  • Is the author trying to sell something?
  • What point-of-view is being expressed?
  • Is the purpose to inform, to entertain, to teach, or to influence?
  • Who is the author writing for? 
  • Is it biased in any way?
  • Are there advertisements?

Types of Information Sources

Information sources can be found online or in print, depending on how the publisher makes them available.  This list will help you understand the benefits of using each of these types of sources.

Books

  • In-depth info on a specific topic
  • Scholarly books have bibliographies; follow up to check the info and find additional sources
  • Information can be dated. Check the publication date.

Scholarly journals

  • Scientific and technological discoveries are reported in detail in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Journal articles are reviewed & evaluated by other experts prior to acceptance
  • In-depth original research
  • Analysis of research
  • Overview of research
  • Cited sources/bibliographies/reference lists
  • Study narrow and specific subjects
  • Discipline-specific, technical jargon geared to scholars & students in the field

Conference papers

  • Papers presented at a formal gathering of peers
  • Ground-breaking research
  • Papers later published in the conference proceedings

Newspapers

  • Current events info
  • Overview analyses of trends, issues
  • Primary source material
  • Product development, industry news, and company histories
  • Few or no cited sources

Popular magazines

  • Brief information on diverse, broad general-interest topics
  • Entertainment, leisure reading
  • Little technical language or jargon
  • Can include investigative journalism
  • Few or no cited sources
  • No bibliographies/reference lists

Encyclopedias and Handbooks

  • Concise overviews of a variety of topics, which can be helpful if you are just beginning your research and need background information on your topic.

Directories

  • Lists of companies within an industry or according to certain criteria
  • Find specialists in an area that you’re researching

Trade Publications

  • Articles and advertisements are intended to be useful for people who work within a specific industry.
  • Articles are often written by people with expertise in a specific field or profession.
  • Publications are sometimes published by a specific trade association or professional association.
  • Articles can include information about news and trends in the industry, professional development opportunities, and upcoming conferences.

Blog Posts

  • Can be written by anybody, credentialed or not
  • May or may not include reference list
  • Very timely commentary on current events
  • Not generally in-depth
  • Must be very carefully evaluated to ensure quality