To read this content please select one of the options below:

Assisting students to identify sources: an investigation

Allison Faix (Kimbel Library, Coastal Carolina University, Conway, South Carolina, USA)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 28 October 2014




This study aims to look at three classes of first-year students enrolled in an Information Literacy course and examines the difficulties these students encountered when attempting to identify different types of information.


In this study, 41 annotated bibliography assignments, in which students were required to state which type of source they had chosen and why were examined and trends in the misidentification of sources were analysed.


Students in the study misidentified half of the sources they used, and struggled equally when identifying sources they located through library databases and the Internet. Trends in the misidentification of these sources were analysed, leading to recommendations for assisting students with learning how to identify sources.

Research limitations and implications

Although the sample size of this study was small, further research into how students identify different types of information would help librarians develop further strategies for teaching source identification as a first step in the source evaluation process.


Librarians and writing instructors often collaborate to help first-year college students learn how to evaluate the sources they use in research projects, but often overlook making sure these students can first correctly identify the different types of information they are evaluating.



Faix, A. (2014), "Assisting students to identify sources: an investigation", Library Review, Vol. 63 No. 8/9, pp. 624-636.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles