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English Composition

Information Cycle

Information comes from many different sources.  Understanding how information evolves can help you decide what sources to use for different research needs.  Watch this video for an explanation of how information begins and evolves.  

Created by University Library, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Where to Start

Once you have decided on a topic, you are ready to begin searching for information.  Here's a list of resources provided by the library.

  • Discovery Search:  Found on the library homepage.  This allows you to quickly search for print books, ebooks, and databases (articles, newspapers, magazines, reference books).  It's a good place to start, but it doesn't search every database.
  • Research Starters:  If you search a broad subject (i.e. social media) in Discovery Search, a Research Starter will appear at the top of the results list.  These are usually encyclopedia articles and will give you background and overview information.  You may also find links to related information.  
  • Databases:  Click the Database tab on the library homepage.  Databases contain academic journals, magazines, newspapers and books. Using the A-Z database list allows you to sort databases by subject (science, business, history, etc) and source type (journals, newspapers, ebooks, magazines, etc)
  • Books:  Click the Library Catalog tab on the library homepage.  You may search for ebooks or print books.
  • Articles:  see Discovery Search and databases
  • Newspapers: see Discovery Search and databases