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Research Skills: Information Cycle

Information Cycle description

The Information Cycle refers to how information changes and develops over time as it moves through different forms of media and publication. Sources of information can include social media, news (t.v., radio, print, or online), magazines, journals, books, reference books, and reports.

Consider this scenario: If a 6.0 earthquake happens today in Kentucky, our first sources of information about it would be news sources - online, on the radio, and the t.v.  At this point, a lot of sources might have information, but the level of information is shallow - think wide and shallow.  

As days and weeks go by, more information can be gathered, adding to the factual information that was previously known.  Information will start to appear in longer forms such as articles about the earthquake - newspapers and magazines.

As months pass, more can be known about the earthquake and more meaning can be added.  At this point, information, discussion, and analysis of the earthquake will appear in Journals and reports. 

After a year's time, books and reports begin to emerge covering the event in even more depth. 

Understanding the information cycle can help you choose the best type of source for the information you need. 

Information Cycle video

The Information Cycle