Skip to main content

UNST 242c Leading Social Change - Dardis: Evaluate Your Sources

The Information Cycle

When an important event occurs, information covering the event is produced in stages. Starting with the first eyewitness report on the scene and continuing through various media and formats, this process is called the information cycle. Understanding it can help you evaluate sources based on where they fit in the process. Watch a 2-minute video that illustrates this idea using Hurricane Katrina as an example.

Types of Articles

News articles provide current information. Certain newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, are also known for thoughtful, in-depth analysis of important topics and events.


Popular magazine articles can help you generate ideas about issues, controversies, or unanswered questions about a topic. They often refer to studies or scholarly works that you can track down for more information.




Trade publications are written by and for professionals within an industry and are an excellent source of very specific information from inside the field.




Scholarly journal articles go through the peer review process before publication. These articles are written by experts in the field, and their purpose is to advance the ongoing body of work within the subject or  discipline. These articles present original research with data and findings or explore a key question within the field. The subject specific language addresses other experts and academics.