While researching current events, it is important to keep in mind the cycle of information and how information is created. While it may be easy to find news articles and internet posts about a current event, do not expect to find scholarly journals or books about an event until long after the event itself (weeks, months, or years). The timeline below details the cycle of information so that you know what to expect when beginning your research.
Sometimes, research projects will require the topic to be current as well as requiring scholarly journals and books. This can be a challenge while researching, but this is a good time to consider the larger scope of your topic.
If your current event research is about a recent election, it's unlikely you will find authoritative books or journal articles about it. However, you will probably be able to find books or journal articles on previous elections that relate to your topic broadly. Use these resources to support your research and supplement news and online sources.
When researching current issues and hot topics, news and web sources are going to be the most easily accessed and commonly used. When using these sources, it's important to remember that some of the information may be changed or updated later. While news sources generally practice fact-checking, misinterpretations of headlines and other misinformation can spread quickly online. News stories posted later may be more accurate than those posted immediately following an event.
"Information Life Cycle" refers to how information is produced and changes over time. The diagram below depicts the coverage of an event over time. Keep this in mind when searching for sources, as it might impact what types of sources are available on your topic.
When a major event occurs (such as an election, speech, tragedy, or breaking news event), the information on that event will evolve:
Watch the video below to follow the cycle!
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