Skip to Main Content
Library and Tutoring homepage

Information Literacy Modules: Information Timeline

Information Timeline Cycle

When locating your sources, you will notice that some information is produced immediately after an event, while other types are produced later.  As you decide what types of sources are needed for your research paper, it is helpful to understand the information timeline. The information timeline, or information cycle, is the process that the information of an event goes through as it is filtered down through different source types. As the information advances further down the information timeline, the more that event is analyzed. 

Information usually starts out in the news or through social media. The initial information that is released includes quick facts and interviews about the event. As facts are revealed and discussed, the story about that event is studied in more depth and is then published in journals or books. Here is how the information timeline breaks down:

Information Timeline Cycle. Event Occurs, information can be found in, Television, Radio, Internet News, Social Media. Same Day,  information can be found in, News Sites, TV, Radio, Newspapers, Podcasts. Weeks After,  information can be found in, Popular Magazines, Weekly Newspapers. Months after,  information can be found in, Scholarly Journals, Trade Publications. One Year After,  information can be found in, Books, Scholarly Journals, Government Reports. Multiple Years After,  information can be found in, Encyclopedias, Textbooks, Documentaries.

Information Timeline Graphic

Information Timeline Graphic by adstarkel. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The Information Cycle Video


<< Types of Finding Tools                                                                         Finding Tool Descriptions >>