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SHS 100 College Success Library Tutorial

How Information is Created

Have you ever thought about where the information you find, and use comes from and how it is created?  It's important to be able to identify and evaluate the sources of information you use for research.


How is information created and what are its unique characteristics? Information found on CNN news is different from Psychology Today magazine or a book about psychology from the library. Why? Because information is created in different formats depending on the purpose of the source and as a topic, event or cultural phenomenon develops. One source type is not necessarily better than another; they are all different. You will want to consider the differences in your research.


This chart (below) lists the different types of sources. Look at the chart and ask yourself…. What kind of information do I need? Your answer will vary depending on many factors including your class assignment requirements, the subject you are researching, and where you are in the research process.   



How long does it take to create and share information? Sometimes only seconds, like Twitter posts. Other sources, like subject encyclopedias, can take years to publish. The speed at which information is produced and the reasons why some sources are distributed faster (or slower) than others, helps define a source's context and purpose.  This process is known as the information cycle.