8.2 – Exploring Source Types

Learning Objective

After completing this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Recognize cues within sources to identify their source type.

To identify the correct APA citation elements needed for your reference list citation, you first need to know what type of source you have. Looking at a source’s visual cues and descriptions from a library catalogue or database can help you figure this out.

Now that so many sources are online, it can be a bit confusing figuring out a source’s type. To help, we will go through some examples of source types and cues to look for together.


"Scholarly and Popular Sources" pyramid.

In the pyramid, examples are displayed on either side of the pyramid and an arrow on the right hand side is labelled more popular at the base of the pyramid and more scholarly at the top. Peer-reviewed journal articles, academic books, conference papers, and theses and dissertations are at the top; trade journals, newsletters, non-fiction, documentaries, fiction/novels and social media are at the bottom or widest part of the pyramid.

Attribution & References

This chapter is adapted from “Exploring Source Types” In APA Style Citation Tutorial by Sarah Adams and Debbie Feisst, University of Alberta Library, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International License. / Adaptations include adjustment of alternate text and CC license updates.


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8.2 - Exploring Source Types Copyright © 2022 by Jen Booth, Emily Cramer & Amanda Quibell, Georgian College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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