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TEL 130: Spring 2020

Types of Sources: By How Quickly They're Published

Check out our guide on different types of periodicals! Periodicals are publications that come out periodically - this includes magazines, newspapers, journals, etc. 

The Information Life Cycle

The day of...

The reports we get:

  • can contain emotion
  • may not contain all the facts yet
  • are available from places that get information out quickly
  • are created for a general audience to consume

We usually get these reports from:

  • social media
  • TV
  • radio

Example:

  • Facebook post from someone witnessing the event

The week of...

The reports we get:

  • may have more facts due to delay in publishing period
  • may still express emotion
  • are created for a general audience

We usually get these reports from:

  • newspapers

Example:

  • Article in the Palladium-Times (Oswego) or the Post-Standard (Syracuse)

The week after...

The reports we get:

  • Will have more information due to an even longer publishing period
  • Are created for a general audience

We usually get these reports from:

  • magazines
  • newspapers

Example:

  • Article in The Economist

Months after...

The reports we get:

  • Are written for and by scholars (professors, researchers, etc.)
  • Are more factual, less emotional
  • Tend to be analytical - trying to understand the event's impact on something

We usually get these reports from:

  • scholarly journals

Example:

A year after...

The reports we get:

  • Are longer
  • Take longer to be published
  • Are also written for scholars
  • Are very factual

We usually get these reports from:

  • books
  • government reports

Example:

  • "Rescue, response, and resilience : a critical incident review of the Orlando public safety response to the attack on the Pulse nightclub" from Dispatch (a government newsletter from the U.S. Dept. of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services)

Years After:

The reports we get:

  • Tend to be unemotional and focus on "who, what, where, when, and why"
  • Are written for a general audience

We usually get these reports from:

  • encyclopedias and other reference material

Example:

But what if my research isn't about a current event?

The information life cycle can still be a useful concept for you! Just keep in mind:

  • Books are the least up-to-date source of information
  • Newspapers and magazines will be your most up-to-date sources of information
  • Scholarly journal articles will fall somewhere in-between

Examples

Let's say you're researching...

  • Virtual reality. Up-to-date information is especially important for anything technical - so you might want to rely more heavily on newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journal articles.
  • Best practices around flipped classrooms. There may not be many newspaper or magazine articles about this, but there are probably scholarly articles and books about this topic.
  • Jane Austen and feminism. In this case, books and older sources might be more helpful than they would be in other areas.

 

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