Skip to Main Content Logo

SPARK: Other Sources

A resource for students wanting to improve their academic and research skills.

Other Sources

There are a variety of rich resources you can use for your assignment. These include newspapers, government publications, video documentaries, statistical data, maps/GIS and archives, for example.

These resources can be either popular or scholarly and/or primary or secondary sources.

Review the sections below to learn more.


Newspapers are popular resources and are useful for finding information and commentary on current issues. Many newspapers also provide popular accounts of recent developments in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

Because newspapers are published throughout the world, they can be useful for international research. The libraries on campus provide access to hundreds of newspapers. For more information on finding resources, see the Research Strategies module.


An archive stores primary resources such as letters, photographs, journals/diaries, maps and planning documents, notes and manuscripts, sound and video recordings, ledgers or account books, institutional records and drawings.

Individual archives provide collections of unique resources that may focus on particular issues or communities or cover a broad range of interests. For example, the University of Regina has a special collection of works related to the novel Robinson Crusoe, including many different editions of the novel.

These resources can be useful for research in almost all areas in the humanities, health and social sciences.

Finding Streaming Media

Government Publications

Government publications originate from various levels of government (municipal, provincial, federal, international). They include departmental reports, legislation, policy papers, pamphlets and many other forms.

Government publications are often available in electronic format through government websites.

Government publications are useful when you need such information about a country as its legislation or policy on particular issues. It is important to consider the views of the current administration and the potential political or ideological biases that government documents may contain.

Closely related to government publications, much statistical data is produced by governments and international bodies (e.g., United Nations, World Bank). A common example is a census (a count of the population of a country). Such statistical data can inform research on numerous topics, including economic, social, and environmental issues.

Maps and GIS

Maps and GIS are very specialized resources. Maps come in many forms such as base maps, land use, topographic, aerial photos, atlases and books, travel information and digital geospatial data. They can be used for any subject to visualize current or historic information. Geographic and spatial information can be available on paper, as aerial photographs, or digitally (e.g., Google Maps, Google Earth, GIS).

Maps are particularly useful for topics related to Geography, Urban Studies, Environmental Studies, Sociology, Political Science, and History. The use of geographic information is useful when you want to visually represent spatial data and see historical and landscape changes over time (e.g., mapping crime statistics using GIS to examine racial profiling in a specific city, or using aerial photos for environmental assessment by looking at deforestation patterns over time).

Most maps should have at least three things to be considered credible sources: title, scale and legend. The accuracy of a map is not solely based on the cartographer, but currency as well. For example, a political map from 1945 would have very different information than a current map in terms of political boundaries. Political biases need to be considered when evaluating maps or political boundaries (e.g., Palestine/Israel/West Bank are contested boundaries represented differently on maps depending on the publisher).