Skip to main content
Humanities Libertexts

4.2: The information timeline

  • Page ID
    16430
  • Another difference in popular, professional, and scholarly sources lies in when information appears in these types of sources. Information about an event or issue appears in publications according to a predictable pattern known as the information timeline. Familiarity with the information timeline can help you best plan your research topics and where to search for information. For example, it typically takes several months to years for information about an event or issue to appear in scholarly publications. If you choose a topic that is very recent, you may have to rely more heavily on news media, popular magazines, and primary sources (such as interviews you conduct) for your research.

    Table 3. The information timeline and typical sources.

    Time: Day of event Days later Weeks later Months later Year(s) later
    Sources Television, radio, web Newspapers, TV, radio, web Popular and mass market magazines Professional and scholarly journals Scholarly journals, books, conference proceedings

    Reference sources such as encyclopedias

    Type of information General: who, what, where (usually not why) Varies, some articles include analysis, statistics, photographs, editorials, opinions Still in reporting stage, general, editorial, opinions, statistics, photographs

    Usually no bibliography at this stage

    Research results, detailed and theoretical discussion

    Bibliography available at this stage

    In-depth coverage of a topic, edited compilations of scholarly articles relating to a topic

    General overview giving factual information

    Bibliography available

    Locating tools Web search tools, social networks Web search tools, newspaper and periodical databases Web search tools, newspaper and periodical databases General and subject-specific databases Library catalog, general and subject-specific databases

    Library reference collection

    Chapter Attribution Information

    The Information Timeline derived by Annemarie Hamlin, Chris Rubio, and Michele DeSilva, Central Oregon Community College, from Information Timeline by Virginia Tech Libraries, CC: BY-NC-SA 4.0

    • Was this article helpful?