News You Can Use

December 2nd, 2013

In your research at IU East, you’re often called to include journal articles and book sources.  But there are many other great types of sources.  One that’s often overlooked is newspapers.  News sources aren’t as rigorously tested as a book or a peer-reviewed journal, so we often dismiss them as less important or scholarly.  But using newspaper articles offers substantial advantages.

One is currency – the scholarly process adds a lot of time to printing articles.  If you want a source about the current situation in Syria, for example, a news article is the way to go.  Newspapers also do a good job summarizing a situation.  If you are learning about a new subject, a news article may give you more of a feel for context than a focused, peer-reviewed article about a very specific topic.  And while newspapers are not any more free from bias than any other source, since news articles are written while events are unfolding, they may offer a perspective before an author has fully formed an opinion about the subject.

Newspapers are also great for historical research, as they show the mood of the time more than scholarly articles tend to.  And while newspapers themselves are not necessarily primary sources, they often interview the participants in major events.  Interviews like that are primary sources, giving you a first-person perspective on historical topics.

The library subscribes to numerous databases for current newspaper articles, such as Newspaper Source or ProQuest News and Newspapers.  We also have several specific newspapers of note, including the Palladium Item and the New York Times (full text available from 1851 to 2009).  We have plenty of historical newspapers, too, with an especially strong focus on Britain and the United States.  All of our newspaper databases can be found here.

Do you need help with a project that can benefit from news sources?  Ask us at iueref@iue.edu!

Newspaper being printed by Photo Researches via ImageQuest

Newspaper being printed by Photo Researches via ImageQuest