Throughout the course of your studies you will need to use a variety of different information sources such as:

The type of information source you use will differ based on the questions you are trying to answer and the assignment requirements set out by your Course Co-ordinators. 

View our video on video-arrow.jpg Types of information.

Reference Works

You can use reference material (such as dictionaries, encyclopaedias, yearbooks, biographies, directories and atlases) to find facts, figures, addresses, statistics, definitions and dates. They're good sources of factual and statistical information, and sources like encyclopaedias can give an overview of a topic.

How do I find books & ebooks?

Our Library Guides also suggest useful encyclopedias and dictionaries to help you get started in your subject area.

Books & ebooks

Books provide in depth coverage of a subject and are a great resource for students. They’re not as current as journal articles, but like journals they provide citations and bibliographies which can be used to identify other resources.

How do I find them?

See the How-to guide eBooks (Online Books) for an explanation about finding and using our eBooks.

Academic Journals


A journal is a publication that is published in a particular format and is issued at fixed intervals (e.g. weekly, monthly, and yearly). Academics, scholars, researchers and other experts in the field often publish in academic (otherwise known as scholarly) journals. Academic journals tend to focus on a specific area or discipline (e.g. Nature and the New England Journal of Medicine) and are published more frequently than books. Articles published in these journals are supported by references to other scholarly material.

The Explaining journal articles How-to guide provides an explanation of different types of journals including peer reviewed journals.

How do I find them?

The most efficient way to locate a journal article on a topic is to search a database. See the How-to guide on Database Searching.  You can also find journal articles by searching UQ Library Search.

The following video outlines how to find the full text of a particular journal article.

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Popular magazines (such as Australian Geographic and New Scientist) contain articles written by journalists and are geared towards a general audience. Unlike academic journals they do not go through a peer review process and rarely contain bibliographic citations.

How do I find them?

If there's a specific magazine you're interested in, search the Catalogue for its title.  These can be in print or electronic format. 

You may also find articles from magazines in UQ Library Search or by searching a Library database.

News and Newspapers

Newspaper articles are usually published daily about current events and developments. They are great sources of local information.

Videoclips of news broadcasts from Australian television stations are also available via the Library.

How do I find them?

Want to find News sources? See the How-to guide News & Newspapers


Statistics can be applicable to most disciplines but are often difficult to find.

Where can I find them?

The Library subscribes to databases where you can also find statistical data. Have a look at Databases by Subject and choose Statistics.

The Library has a Subject guide for Statistics.

The Quick Reference electronic collection also lists key statistical sites, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Internet Sites
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A vast array of information (such as government reports and conference papers) is freely available on the Internet. 

How do I find good quality sites?

Want to find good information from the Internet more quickly? See the How-to guide Internet (Web) Searching.

Information on the internet should be evaluated - not all information is unbiased or even accurate. How can you judge? See the How-to guide Internet Resource Evaluation.

Specialist information

A variety of other specialised resources may also be required through the course of your study such as: company information, legal information, maps, patents, standards, tests, theses, etc.

How can I find it?

Have a look at the various How-to guides to find out how to locate specialist information sources.

Individual Library Guides will also provide information about specialist resources.

Do you know the difference between primary, secondary and tertiary information sources? The following sites provide information which may be useful:

Need further help? Ask the Library!

The Library's best resource is of course its staff!  Library staff are here to help - in person at a Library branch, online via Ask the Library, or over the phone. Our training sessions can also help direct you to the best information resources for your discipline and how to location and search them effectively.