This guide provides an introduction to information evaluation and research, and may help you explore library resources for WRITING FOUNDATIONS 100. On each page you will find useful guidance and sources that will help you meet the requirements of the course.
If you need help with library search tools and resources, just click on the Research Help tab. For other questions about your assignments, consult with your professor.
Information sources are available in a variety of formats each with their own intended audience, purpose, and publication timeline. For example, the purpose of news formats is to provide up-to-the-date, or even up-to-the-hour, general reports of current events and information. This is a much different purpose from that of a scholarly report or article which provides in-depth analysis of a narrow topic or issue in a time-frame that is far removed from the original happening.
The combination of information sources has been referred to as the "information cycle." Understanding this cycle of information will help you identify what sources to look at in regard to a specific information need.
Remember, all formats of information can be found in print and digital media. The place (for example, a library or a computer) you find information does not define the type of source it is.
The progression of coverage of a newsworthy event
Social Media, TV, Radio, Web
Academic books, Government documents, Reference
Let's take a look at the information cycle for the September 11th attacks against the US. For a research project, you collect a variety of sources published from the moment the attacks occurred to the present. The first few sources were produced the day of and may contain inaccuracies due to the limited amount of information available at the time. As time progresses, the reliability of the sources increases because facts can be verified and new facts can be discovered.
**Note: the timeline does not contain all of the sources related to 9/11 due to the vast quantity of information available.
Copyright 2013 International Reading Association & NCTE. All rights reserved. ReadWriteThink materials may be reproduced for educational purposes.
Disclaimer: The content provided on this handout in no way reflects the opinions of ReadWriteThink or its supporting organizations: IRA, NCTE, or Verizon Thinkfinity.