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. https://www.library.illinois.edu/ugl/howdoi/informationcycle/
Reference Sources include sources of quick, factual information, as well as basic and specialized encyclopedias.
Use these sources to generate topic ideas, become more informed, or obtain background information on a topic. Do not cite these sources in a college level paper unless your instructor requests them.
For very current events and issues, the only information available will come from news sources:
Still, for very current events, you will have the following information sources available for your issue:
Within a week...
Within a month...
You will not yet have available the scholarly analysis due to the currency of the event, unless an expert has been interviewed regarding the issue.
For current and controversial issues written about by experts in a subject area, you will find:
Three months or more later...
Over a year later...
|Scholarly / Academic Journals (incl. Peer-Reviewed)||Popular||Trade Publications|
Journal of Popular Culture
Reviews of research
Book reviews of scholarly works
|Articles on a certain business or industry
News, trends, promotional materials
|Purpose||Share original research or scholarship with the academic community||Entertainment
|Information about business or industry news, trends or products|
|Business and industry professionals and practitioners|
|Authorship||Expert or specialist in the field, whose name and credentials are always provided||Staff writers
Freelancers (credentials seldom provided)
Business and industry professionals
|Staff editor||Business and industry professionals
|Cites Sources||Research thoroughly documented||None, may mention other studies without a formal references list||None, may mention other studies without a formal references list|
|Format / Structure||Structured articles typically contain: abstract, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, conclusion, and bibliography||no specific format||no specific format|
|Special features||Tables, graphs, maps
Very few ads
|Glossy photos & illustrations
|Ads geared towards the industry|
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