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Continuing Education

Continuing Education Guide for Instructors and Students

Finding Information

How do I use the Library to find resources?question

Check out our Library Research Guides for help.

Google and social media have become the most popular search tools to date. These tools provide users with immediate access to a huge amount of information on any topic imaginable!

Where much of the information is reliable and authoritative, there is also a lot of information that has a commercial or media purpose, and may be unreliable as an information source.

Here are a few tools that will help apply relevant criteria when evaluating the reliability and authority of information found on the open web.




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Information Sources:

Information can be found in different sources and formats. Use the table below to become familiar with these sources for information, and how to identify where your information is coming from.

Scholarly journal articles      
  • Journals are published on a regular basis
  • Usually includes an abstract/summary
  • Often report on original research
  • Cite other works and have lists of references
  • Articles are lengthy usually >10 pages
  • Author(s) are researchers, professors, subject experts and credentials are provided
  • Journal focuses on a specific field of study
  • Written for academic audience
  • Available in print or online

         Click for example

Trade publications
  • Trade publications are published on a regular basis
  • Trade publications are written for those involved in a specific industry or trade
  • Trade articles are written about specific industries, trades or products
  • Articles are shorter usually a few pages in  length
  • No list of references
  • Often have glossy images
  • Available in print or online

       Click for example
Magazine articles
  • Magazines are published on a regular basis
  • Magazines are written for the general public
  • Magazine articles are written about topics of general interest
  • Articles are shorter usually a few pages in  length
  • No list of references
  • Often have glossy images
  • Available in print or online

        Click for example
Open access
news articles
  • Published on websites of newspapers, wire services, radio, television
  • Written for the general public
  • Usually about very current events
  • Written by news reporters or may not have an author
  • Articles are short
  • No references listed
  • Often include advertising
  • Often invite comments

 Click for example
News articles
retrieved from
an online
  • Published by newspapers, wire services, radio, television
  • Accessible online through databases like Factiva; Canadian Newsstand etc.
  • Written for the general public
  • Usually about very current events
  • Written by news reporters or may not have an author
  • No references listed
  • No advertising
  • No comments invited

Click for example
  • May be hosted by anyone – authoritative sources, news agencies, organizations as well as members of the general public
  • Promote discussion on a specific theme/topic/cause
  • Comments are invited
  • Usually shows an archive of posts
  • Posts are often categorized by specific topics

Click for example
  • Prepared by government, corporations, organizations, individuals etc.
  • Released to the news media
  • Usually making an announcement about a current event, decision or development
  • Can be found on an organization's website

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  • Purpose is to provide the public with information about the company and promote its products or services
  • Includes information such as: company history, operations, products/services, executives, investors’ information, news etc.

Click for example
  • Books are available in print and electronic versions
  • Accessed through the library catalogue or an e-book aggregator such as Ebrary, Books 24X7 Business Pro; Safari Online

Click for example
Chapters in
a book
  • Chapters in a book may all be written by the author(s) of the book, OR
  • a book may be a collection of chapters each written by different author(s) – in this case the book is “edited” by one or more editors
  • They may be confused with journal articles - look for the word "Chapter" and note if there is a journal title, volume and issue number at the top or bottom of the page.

Click for example
  • Websites that allow anyone to add, delete or edit content using a web browser
  • Searchable by keyword

Click for example
Annual reports
  • Publications provided by publicly-traded companies to their shareholders
  • Also called 10-K reports (United States)
  • Provide information about operations and detailed financial statements
  • May be found on a company website; SEDAR (Canadian companies) or EDGAR (US companies)
  • Usually published electronically but many companies also publish a print version

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  • Published by government departments or agencies
  • May be in print or electronic format
  • Government documents include legislation, regulations, reports etc.

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Industry reports
  • Published by business information publishers like Marketline; Mergent; Standard & Poor’s; Business Monitor International; IBISWorld; Euromonitor, etc.
  • Provide information at the industry level and usually include market information, statistics, trends, issues, outlook/forecast etc.
  • Usually accessed electronically through online business databases

Click for example
Analyst reports
  • Written by financial analysts who are affiliated with major investment firms
  • These reports are written strictly from an investment point-of-view and include the analyst's recommendations
  • May be at the company or industry level
  • Usually accessed electronically through the online databases ThomsonONE or Bloomberg

Click for example
Social media
  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.
  • Purpose is to share and exchange information in virtual communities
  • All content is user-generated
  • “Authored” by businesses, organizations, communities and individuals – authority of the information depends on the author/creator

Click for example