Before the search can begin, consideration has to be given to the kind of information sought after. Depending on the topic of the research, one source may be more useful than another (e.g., newspapers, journals, conference papers, books, and the internet). It is important to know the kind of material each source holds and who is the intended target audience of that particular source.
The quality and the intended purpose of the information source must be evaluated when searching for scholarly information. For instance, a newspaper article is aimed at an entirely different kind of audience than an article published in a scholarly journal. A free online encyclopedia may contain useful factual information, but it must be read with a critical eye to a greater extent than an encyclopedia, authorised and published by a known publisher. Furthermore, information in an online encyclopedia, which contents can freely be modified by anyone, can change from day to day.
In summary, there are different kinds of information sources and they are all needed in the research process. Besides the earlier studies of one's own research topic or theoretical frame, other types of materials may be needed. Examples of such sources are, for instance, newspaper articles, websites, memoirs, interviews, and archival materials.
Books, journals, periodicals, and electronic resources can be located through libraries. Archival materials are stored in archives (e.g. National Archives, Provincial Archives). Many organisations (e.g. parishes, universities) have their own archives. In addition, other organisations such as fellowships, associations and societies also have private archives.