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Research Process: A Step-By-Step Guide: 1: Types of Information

A guide to help you through the steps of the research process.

The Information Cycle

To begin your research it is essential that you define your information need. To do this you need to know what your research topic is about, what type of information you need to answer your research question, and how much information you will need to complete your research assignment.

Information follows a publication cycle; and it is often first published on the internet. Often, news breaks on social media sites and online news sites first. Then it appears on television and radio. It quickly moves on to printed newspapers, podcasts, and weekly magazines, such as Time and Newsweek. It then moves on to longer feature stories in monthly magazines. Finally, it is analyzed in scholarly journals and in books. 

In this section of the research process we will take a look at different types of information and how they differ from one another. Knowing what type of information source to use for the type of information you need is an essential skill to attain in order to become a competent researcher.