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EH 102: The 1960s (Halbrooks): Step 3: Assess Your Information Needs


Different types of assignments require different types of information. For example, for a fact-finding or objective paper you will need to find objective, reputable sources of information. For a classic argument, you'll need not only objective information but also examples of both arguments and counter-arguments.

Frequently, your assignment will include information about the types of sources your instructor wants you to use.


  • Define your need before you start to search. Ask yourself:
    • What are the requirements for the assignment?
    • What is the purpose of your paper?
    • Who is your audience?
    • What's their level of understanding?
    • What do you already know?
    • What should you look for that will fit that audience and purpose?
  • What you need determines where you go to look for information. Consider:
    • Level of detail
    • Quantity
    • Quality
    • Currency
  • Some types of information:
    • Personal knowledge
    • Personal interview
    • Your own research: questionnaires, surveys, etc.
    • Books:
      • Reference books such as specialized encyclopedias
      • Books - popular or scholarly
    • Periodicals:
      • Newspaper articles
      • Popular magazines
      • Trade magazines
      • Academic or scholarly journals
    • Government documents
    • Internet sources