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Research 101: Credible Sources

A brief introduction to college-level research

What is a credible source?

Credible sources earn your trust by relying on evidence to support claims. You can trust that the ideas expressed are the author’s (or are attributed to the actual author) and the ideas are supported by evidence. The definition of a “credible source” may vary depending on the discipline and the purpose of the writing. If in doubt, ask your instructor.

Find Books Here

You can search all the materials in the UK Library System using InfoKat Discovery. Type the name of a book, author, or a subject below and it will show you what we own.


What is a Primary Source?

 Primary sources are the raw materials of history. They are the original documents/creative works which contain or demonstrate the firsthand knowledge or experience of the creator(s) of an event or creative work.  Some examples of primary sources:

Artifacts (clothing, furniture, tools, buildings, paintings, artwork)
First–person accounts (including newspaper accounts)
Government publications (statistics, court reports)
Historical documents including maps
Internet resources (especially digitized versions of historical documents)
Lab reports

Draft copies of manuscripts



Correspondence (i.e. written or electronic letters, email)

Official government or corporate papers
Audio Recordings (e.g. radio programs, speeches, oral histories, music)

Film/Video/Digital Visual Recordings

Find Scholarly Articles Here

UK Libraries subscribes to a huge number of article databases. If you're not sure where to start, use a Research Guide for your subject, Ask Us for suggestions, or try Academic Search Complete (search box below), a good general academic database.

Sample search terms for databases

"college campuses" and "student activities"
crowdsourcing and business

"public spaces" and "social values"
universities and basketball arenas

Academic Search Complete
Limit Your Results

View Now

The Libraries subscribe to a huge number of databases and resources.  Sometimes, the full text for an article is not available in the database you are currently searching, but it is available in another resource. The new View Now service will lead you to other options for accessing the full text.  Look for this button in your search results:

When you click View Now, you will be presented with one of the following options:  An immediate link to access full text in another database, catalog information to find a paper copy in the library collection, or a link to complete a request for the article via Interlibrary Loan.