Different types of information

All of these types of information are used in academic study. They may be provided in print format, online, or be available in both formats.

Textbooks Newspaper articles Journal articles


Resource types for your subject area 




Textbooks are one of the most common types of information used in university studies. They tend to contain practical advice or outline key theories/theorists linked to your chosen subject. Some textbooks are written entirely by one or two authors, others have different authors for each chapter and the whole work is brought together by editors. Often you will need to read just a section of a book, rather than the whole thing.

Where can I find them?

Recommended textbooks from your tutors are found on your reading lists for each module. You can also search for them on the Library Catalogue.



Newspaper articles

Newspaper articles are useful for providing evidence regarding the media or public response to an event, person, policy or initiative. The vast majority will involve some form of bias, either from the author or the editorial agenda of the publication.

Where can I find them?

Of course lots of newspapers have their own websites, but if:

  • you hit a paywall,
  • you need an article from before their archive starts,
  • or you want to cross-search across lots of different newspapers,

you can find specialist newspaper search tools and databases through the ILS Databases page.



Journal articles

Journals are published in a similar way to newspapers and magazines; there are a number of issues each year and each issue contains articles. Journals are different from newspapers as the articles tend to be accounts of research projects and what they discovered, which means they are used a lot as evidence in academic work.

You'll need to understand the background to your subject area before reading journal articles as, although they are shorter than books, they go into a lot of depth on a narrow topic, and will assume prior knowledge.

Where can I find them?

There are lots of journal article search tools. The main one is the Library Catalogue – select the option to 'search everything including journal articles'. There are also subject-specific search tools – check our sections on your subject area for more.



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Search Success is based on SMILE by Imperial College, Loughborough University and the University of Worcester, modified by Information Learning & Estates at York St John University. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.‌

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