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Explore and refine your topic: Various types of information

Once you have a well-defined research topic, the next step is to decide on the type of information you need. Check the requirements of your assignment for information types you need to refer to in your paper. It also helps to think about the purpose of your paper and the audience you are writing for.

What type of information do you need?

The University Library provides access through various discovery tools to a wide range of information sources including books, magazines, journal articles and financial data.

Finding various types of information
Information type Useful for... Discovery tool
Books / reports

Obtaining a general overview of a subject area

  • Tip 1: Use the bibliography in the book. Which sources did the author use to write the book?
  • Tip 2: Find the table of contents of the book on Google Books to get an impression of the contents of the book. And to help you decide whether to borrow the book or not.


Reference works Getting an succinct summary of information on a particular subject


Guides per discipline

Dissertations and theses

Establishing whether research has been conducted into a certain topic.

  • Tip: Find out what sources the researcher used.

Master thesis repository

EUR & Erasmus MC Research Portal


Keeping up to date with the developments in a certain discipline.

  • Tip: Find out who the leading researchers are in a particular field.


Browse e-journals

Journal articles Looking for specific information about a particular topic. Journal articles are often very focused and aimed at publishing research results.



Newspaper articles Current awareness. Looking for news around a particular topic.


Financial data

Creating data sets (collecting data) to support the conclusions of your research.


via EDSC

EDSC manuals

Statistics Creating data sets (collecting data) to support the conclusions of your research.


via EDSC

Legislation Offering support when solving legal cases. Databases
Case law

Judgments provide an insight into how rules and regulations are applied in practice.



Exercise: Information types

Try matching information types with information needs.

Start exercise