Information Resources

Understanding how information is created, how it is transmitted and how it changes over time will help you become a better researcher. This knowledge will help you understand what types of information are available and where to find it, making you more effective in assessing and identifying relevant sources for your topic.

Time Frame of Event Information Resource Characteristics of Information Resource
Seconds/minutes/hours Television/radio/internet Provides sketchy details, may be inaccurate but good for firsthand accounts
Next day or two Newspapers More details and greater accuracy, the first rough draft of history
Next week Popular magazines Written for a general audience, provides a more comprehensive summary of event with some commentary, generally lacks references
Six months or more Scholarly Journals In depth analysis of event written by experts in their field. In most cases, bibliographies and references will be present. For most college level papers, you should be using articles from scholarly journals.
One year or more Popular and scholarly books Scholarly books will offer an indepth examination of a topic with footnotes, references and bibliographies while popular books tend to be broader, have less depth and lack comprehensive references
Several years Reference Sources
  • Encyclopedias
  • Almanacs
  • Handbooks etc...
Factually accurate, offer a broad perspective that is relatively objective and are good resources for context and background information

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