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ENVR 30: Environmental Issues: Types of Resources

Types of Resources

When researching your policy/issue of interest, you should look at diverse sources of information to get a good "feel" for the topic and the conversation around the topic. This will help ensure that you have a well-rounded understanding of the issue and let you be precise in asking your representative for a specific action.

Various types of resources have their own strengths and weaknesses:


  • great for broad, in-depth analysis of a particular subject
  • offer more complete information and greater historical perspective
  • information is not as current as other resources

Journal articles

  • good for finding current research on a topic
  • "scholarly" or "peer-reviewed" articles are written by scholars and professionals in the field
  • usually a very narrow scope


  • best for very local and very recent information
  • good for primary source material
  • watch for bias, objectivity


  • good for finding information from governments, organizations, and global entities
  • convenient to access
  • watch for accuracy, bias, privacy/security issues

Grey literature (e.g. government/business/academic reports, theses, conference proceedings)

  • may contain unique information
  • does not go through a review process

Policy briefs (a type of grey literature)

  • concise & targeted to an issue
  • watch for bias (e.g. think tanks can be partisan or non-partisan)

Data & statistics

  • lend strength to an argument
  • can be misinterpreted or manipulated