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Library - Information Literacy Module: Tutorial 7: Information sources: Biographical and case study information

Information literacy for UJ students. Start with "1 Why Information Literacy" and end with "9 Writing & Referencing"

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STEP 1: Biographical and case study information

Source Details Example Where to find?
  • Thorough information
  • Well researched information
  • Primary and secondary information
  • Background and historical information
  • Bibliography of other sources
  • Information can be checked for accuracy
  • Published once and sometimes further additions
  • Format: Print or Electronic
  • Title: Urban pollution and health risks

Library catalogue



  • A reference book giving information on general topics or specific topics.
  • Information is comprehensive and authoritative
  • Contains factual information
  • Contains illustrations
  • Format: Print or electronic
Useful for historical information


  • Encyclopaedia Britannica
  • Oxford Illustrated Encyclopedia


  • Encyclopedia of Religion
  • Encyclopedia of Sociology

Library catalogue

Encyclopaedias are reference material and not available for loan
unless it is in electronic format. 


Scholarly/Academic Journals
  • In-depth information
  • Contains an abstract
  • Written in academic language
  • Aimed at the academic community
  • Articles written by experts in their study fields
  • Peer-reviewed
  • Charts and graphs
  • Recent research on a topic
  • Bibliographies of other sources
  • Information can be checked for accuracy
  • Credentials of author/researchers are provided
  • Published in volumes and issues
  • Available in print or in an electronic journal database
  • Journal of Library and Information Science
  • Journal of American Psychology
  • Harvard Medical Journal

Library catalogue and databases

Journals are available in print or can be found in databases 
(a collection of organised data that can be found by the click of a finger)

Databases are sorted by discipline. Best to start off with a multidisciplinary (different subject disciplines) database such 
as Ebsco. This will broaden your options when making a selection.


  • Interviews are a good way to learn about a topic from a personal perspective.
  • When selecting a person to interview, make sure you choose someone with authority and a person who will be able to provide you with accurate information.
  • Caste Studies
  • Biographical information
  • Unique first-hand information

Books, periodicals, newspapers, Internet

Library catalogue

  • Daily information
  • Usually contains local news and events 
  • Written by authors, journalists and witnesses
  • Aimed at the general audience.
  • Includes graphic information
  • Can be published daily or weekly


  • The Star
  • City Press


Library catalogue: SA online newspapers


  • Connected group of pages on the World Wide Web
  • Organisational information (.org)
  • Commercial information (.com)
  • Educational information (.edu)
  • Individual information
  • Company information
  • Social media
  • Information cannot always be verified or checked for accuracy
  • Textual information
  • Visual information
  • Multimedia
  • Interactive
  • Information is devoted to a single topic or several closely related topics
  • Message boards
  • Social Media sites
  • Academic journals (etc)
World Wide Web