Look at whether the assignment specifies using peer reviewed articles, newspaper articles, data, books, and/or videos. Different types of sources will often be found in different places.
Your research topic will have an impact on the kinds of sources that you will use. Some topics are more likely to be covered in books, and others are more likely to be covered in the news. You may not be able to find books or peer reviewed articles on current topics because they take a long time to publish.
A topic like 'race and incarceration' might be explored by scholars in sociology, political science, public policy, or psychology. See recommended sources from the subject librarians for each discipline in the Subject Guides.
Just starting your research? Use the library's E-Reference Guide to search for background information on your topic in online encyclopedias and dictionaries.
Searching for books? Use the Books and Media Search to find books at UMBC. The Find Books and Media page gives you more options for your searching.
Searching for articles? The AOK Article Search is a good place to start because it contains millions of articles on a variety of topics. You can also use the Subject Guides to find subject-specific article databases recommended by the subject librarians.
Looking for primary sources? Check out the Primary Sources Guide. If you are looking for primary sources in history, then you may also want to explore the History Subject Guide.
Searching for newspaper sources? The library subscribes to a number of newspaper databases, with both current and archival article access.
Looking for statistics? The Census & Statistics page takes you to major statistical websites. You can also search Google for data on your topic. Search for [your topic] and statistics or [your topic] and data.
Finding government information? Check out our guide for finding Federal and Maryland government information.
Modified from: http://library.pdx.edu/diy/deciding-where-search