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SPAN S318: Writing Spanish for Heritage Speakers

Types of Sources

Before diving right into a search, stop and take a moment to consider what type of resource you want to find. Do you need a book? A scholarly article? Do you need a blog written by or YouTube interview of an expert? Do you need raw data? Next, think about where that type of information might be found. Will a simple internet search locate what you need, or do you need another tool? Use the chart below to think about where you might find the information you need. If you're not sure where to start, this would be a great moment for you to contact me! 

Types of Sources infographic

Additionally, you may need to think in terms of primary and secondary sources. For more on that, see the information below on interviews and the infographic. 

Next, I'll give you some of the most common search tools below and some tips, but keep in mind that these are not one-stop shopping, nor are they one-size-fits-all. 

Information Need

Para contestar tu pregunta de investigación, tienes que obtener información que te ayudará. En este momento, tienes un "information need," es decir, necesitas información para poder identificar evidencia para apoyar tus argumentos. 

Vea el video sobre The Information Life Cycle y piensa en qué tipos de información vas a querer y en dónde los vas a buscar. También refleja en la manera en que el paso de tiempo afecta el tipo de información que se produce. ¿Por qué un "container" de información es distinto a otro y cómo eso afecta a la calidad de información?

The Information Life Cycle

Understanding the "Information Life Cycle" can help you understand how information is created, published, and disseminated. Today's events are tomorrow's information. One event triggers how information is told over the course of hours, days, weeks, months, and finally years. Watch the following video produced by the UNLV Lied Library to understand how an event becomes a topic of scholarly research:

Comparing library and non-library resources

Using library resources can be fun and productive, but it can also be confusing or frustrating at times. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed by the many choices the library offers, feel free to reach out to a librarian for help.

The table below may help you understand which tools would be best for your information need. 


Compare Library and Non-Library Sources

Image Description

You may find that some or none of these tools help with your research. In that case, try one of the subject guides. Look for a page about articles or databases to find discipline-specific databases. For example, if your research question is about gender inequality, try the Women's Studies guide.


Piensa en los tipos de información que necesitas y apunta dónde los vas a buscar. Si quieres, puedes mantener un registro diario para rastrear tu processo de investigación.