25 Information Sources: Media

Media can refer to many things, but here it describes information sources that do not align to our traditional formats (books, magazines). These are usually visual in nature (such as film), or perhaps audio (such as music). Sometimes, we don’t realize media resources are an option when doing research, but they can be very helpful, and for some cases can be even stronger resources than our traditional formats. Here are a few examples of media resources you might encounter as you conduct your own research projects.


Film icon

Documentaries are films that provide us with a deep look at a specific topic. Non-fiction in nature, documentaries can advocate for a cause—which means we must be careful to notice any possible bias. They can be journalistic in nature where they report on an event, happening, people, and/or other subjects in detail. They can share an experience someone went through. Documentaries may also be entertaining, so that they are interesting to watch.

Radio Programs (Broadcasts and Interviews)

Microphone icon

Radio programs can be a strong information source, especially if you’re looking for interviews with specific people. They also report out on current events, but unlike our traditional formats where the information is printed and can be referenced later easily, radio broadcasts are usually one-time events. Fortunately, some of the programs are captured in library databases through transcripts, and other times, you might be able to find recordings of them online.

Television Programs (News and Educational Programming)

Television icon

News and educational programming can be useful sources when doing research. News programs provide details about current events, and may also broadcast interviews. Educational programming might include documentary-style delivery of information, but it can also be instructive. In some cases, there may be dedicated channels that provide specialized content such as Discovery, The History Channel, and C-SPAN.


Image: “Microphone” by Freepik, adapted by Aloha Sargent, from Flaticon.com

Image: “Movie” by Freepik, adapted by Aloha Sargent, from Flaticon.com

Image: “Television” by Smashicons, adapted by Aloha Sargent, from Flaticon.com


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Introduction to College Research Copyright © by Walter D. Butler; Aloha Sargent; and Kelsey Smith is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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