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Cross Walk: Guided Searching by Type

A strategy for searching--by Topic

Have a list of keywords or only a vague idea about a topic? Wondering where / how to even begin/start searching? The library can seem a little overwhelming--try starting your search by the type (kind) of information you need.

Follow the links on the left-hand side

Turn your 'pondering' into information; information into knowledge with these sequenced guides.  It is important to understand 2 definitions, 2 library terms---click on the tabs for database and encyclopedia

  1. Start with looking through the page for Facts, Definitions, and Encyclopedias (yes, Google and Wikipedia but there are others)
    1. Only need data sets, statistics?  Find some resources on the Statistics page
  2. Next, try News
  3. Images,including those that are 'rights free', meaning likely no need to secure copyright permission
  4. Maps?  Maps can quickly help you contextualize the importance of geopolitical relationships
  5. What about Video or Audio
  6. Books (sometimes still the best)
    1. Milner and/or iShare (from other academic libraries in Illinois)
    2. eBooks
    3. Worldwide (WorldCat)
  7. Articles from Core Journals--just quickly need an article
  8. Articles--comprehensive (databases by subjects)

What is a database?

A database is a set of data that has a regular structure and that is organized in such a way that a computer can easily find the desired information.

Data is a collection of distinct pieces of information, particularly information that has been formatted (i.e., organized) in some specific way for use in analysis or making decisions.

A database can generally be looked at as being a collection of records, each of which contains one or more fields (i.e., pieces of data) about some entity (i.e., object), such as a person, organization, city, product, work of art, recipe, chemical, or sequence of DNA.



From the Linux Information Project

What is an encyclopedia?  Why is it so useful?

By-the-way: this is a great example of using Wikipedia 'appropriately'.




Primary and Secondary Sources (by Discipline)

The idea for this table was motivated by University of Maryland's web site


Primary Source

Secondary Source


A sculpture

Article discussing a sculpture

Biological Sciences

Original research article

Review or meta-analysis article


Movie filmed in 1948

Movie review


Presidential speech

Web site comparing speeches

Social Sciences

Notes taken by a clinical psychologist

Film about the psychological condition

Need help finding Primary Sources?

Try this list