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Research 101: A Self-Guided Tutorial

Research Smarter

2 - Information Timeline

Information Timeline
Minutes to Hours image of an arrow Days to Weeksimage of an arrow Months to Yearsimage of an arrow And Years Laterimage of an arrow

Television, radio, Twitter, and Internet news sites report the basic facts of the event. Since information is reported as the event happens, facts may not be accurate or verified.

Basic questions are addressed:  Who, What, When, Where, How, and Interviews with the public.

Public opinion begins to circulate in the media, creating discussion and debate.

image of broadcast news

The news media continues to report new information, which often includes expert opinions. Types of stories: Facts, Statistics, Photographs, Interviews with experts.

Analysis of the cause of event begins. News magazines publish summaries and analysis. Social media feature discussions of facts and opinions. All of these sources contain some degree of bias. 

image of a newspaper

In the months after the event, academics and experts in different fields begin researching, experimenting, and studying various topics associated with the event.

Academic articles appear in scholarly journals. The writing becomes more focused on analysis.

As scholars complete more research, they often summarize their findings in books.  

image of a pile of magazines

As time goes on, general facts are established and overviews of the event appear in print and online reference materials such as encyclopedias, textbooks, and dictionaries.

Timeline of major dates and years, key people involved in event, definitions and explanations of major topics. 

Caveat: Wikipedia can cover emerging events quickly. However, be critical of the information. Its coverage will evolve and change over time.

image of encyclopedias