Skip to main content

UNST 236I-001 - Interpreting the Past - Millay: Evaluate 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 the most 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 work 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 a process of peer review before they are published. They are written by experts in the field, and their purpose is to advance the ongoing body of work within the subjet or  discipline. These articles present original research data and findings, or take a position on a key question within the field. They can be difficult to read because the language is specific to the subject for an intended audience of other experts and academics.