Sources of information

As much as possible, vary your sources of information. If you consult a single document, not only will your documentation be lean, but you will also be prisoner from the point of view that is developed there; perhaps he is not the best. The only way to find out is to compare. In short, the more you diversify your sources, the more you will have a complete and nuanced vision of your subject. In any case, the approval of texts and sources of information by your teacher is necessary. You have a wide variety at your disposal. Each has its specificities that must be known to use it effectively. Library staff can advise you on this.


These are encyclopaedias and specialized dictionaries, among others. They approach a subject in its outline. Encyclopaedias whose articles are signed and followed by a bibliography should be privileged. A good example of an encyclopedia is the Encyclopædia Universalis, available on the “Library” community of Mon Portail Saint-Jean.

Some teachers have, with good reason, many reservations about anonymous articles or from an encyclopedia that does not offer a guarantee of sufficient rigor (for example, the Wikipedia encyclopedia).

The reference works are useful to get a first idea of ​​a subject. They provide overall information, such as an author’s biography, the main lines of his thought, the main aspects of a problem.

General works and manuals

These sources of information are interesting because they generally present a summary of the main aspects of the context in which the subject is situated. Here again, the presence of a bibliography is a pledge of rigor.


They address a specific topic and more in-depth than other sources of information. It provides more detailed information than in the reference books.

In order to identify this type of source, one consults the computerized catalogs of the library.

To determine whether a monograph is relevant and useful, you need to:

  • Check whether it contains reference notes and a bibliography containing the author’s sources of information.
  • Consult the table of contents; read the preface, the introduction, the conclusion. This gives an overview of the content of the volume.
  • Look for a monograph that can be useful; it is not always necessary to read everything. Sometimes only one chapter can serve. No need, then, to read everything else.

Newspapers and periodicals

Newspapers deal with news; periodicals provide the most up-to-date information on a given topic and often analyze it. The Landmark index and the Scholar database allow you to target relevant articles about you. These resources are available on the “Library” community of Mon Portail Saint-Jean.

An article is considered scientific when it comes from a peer-reviewed journal.

Audiovisual documents and sources on computer media

It can also be interesting to consult audiovisual sources, such as videos, maps or historical, or sources on computer, such as the Internet and databases offered by CEGEP and those offered by Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec . These are all searchable remotely. The free subscription procedure is described on the “Library” community of My Saint John Portal.


In order to find the relevant documents for the realization of your work, several documentary research tools are at your disposal.

Library Catalog (Gaze):

It is used to locate documents available at the Cégep Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu library, such as:

  • books;
  • periodicals (note that Regard does not allow to search for an article);
  • DVD, CD;
  • brochures, maps;
  • reference works;
  • etc.

Data base :

  • These tools make it possible to find and consult documents of all kinds, including articles from magazines, newspapers and encyclopedias. For journal articles, we recommend Repère and Érudit.


A research topic can be exploited in many ways. Before undertaking research, it is important to understand the concepts that interest you. For best results, link your concepts with logical operators and formulate search equations.

  • AND

The AND operator specifies your search subject and is used to tell the program to find records in which the two terms separated by AND are found. Only records containing these two terms will be identified.

For example: Europe AND geography


The operator EXCEPT is used to tell the program to exclude a term from the search.

For example: garden EXCEPT park

  • OR

The OR operator expands your search subject and is used to tell the program to find records in which one or both terms are separated by OR. This operator is often used in the case of terms with similar meaning or use.

For example: young or teenagers

  • Truncation (*) brings out all possible terminations of a term.

For example: art * brings out “art”, “arts”, “artist”, “artistic”, etc.

  • The quotation marks “” are used to search for an exact expression.

For example: “still life”, “new art”


Whether this source is printed or electronic, there are key questions to ask when assessing the relevance of a book. These questions can be grouped under four categories.



The author of a source says a lot about the relevance of the latter.

  • Who is the author?
  • Is he recognized in his field?
  • Has he published other books?
  • What is his education and profession?
  • Is he affiliated with an organization? If so, what are the objectives of this organization?


An objective source does not defend a cause. It seeks to convey the most accurate information possible.

  • What is the intention of the author or publication?
  • Is the information found confirmed by other sources?
  • Is the language used neutral, partisan, hateful?
  • Does the author seem to have a bias?
  • Is there advertising? Does it take up too much space?

A recent publication is more likely to take into account the latest discoveries, the latest publications. However, an older source is not necessarily bad, it depends on the subject.

  • Is the information still relevant?
  • Is the publication or update date recent?
  • Are the sources cited recent?


  • Is the information written clearly and without fault?
  • Are the cited sources reliable?
  • Is there a bibliography? Is it bulky?
  • Is the information post-secondary?