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AGRO/EMS/HORT 2011: The Information Timeline

Course Guide for EMS 2011/AGRO 2011/HORT 2011 Analysis of Environmental Issues

Information Timeline

In order to find and effectively use information, you need to first understand how it is produced.  This is where the information timeline comes in - it shows the progression of information about an event or topic.  Understanding this timeline will help you better evaluate what sources you should turn to in order to find the best information.  

The information timeline is an arrow pointing right. On the arrow there is a line down that says Day Of… Social Media, Internet, TV. The next line down says Week Of… Newspapers. The next line down says Week After… Popular Magazines. The next line says Months After… Scholarly Journals. The last line down says Year(s) After… Books, Gov Reports & Reference Material

Same Day: Internet, TV, Radio

  • Breaking information
  • Can be inaccurate, incomplete, biased, and highly emotional
  • Created By: the public/journalists
  • FOR: General Public

Next-Day/Soon After: News Articles

  • More detailed and factual reporting
  • Quotes from experts, statistics, and/or photographs
  • Opinion pieces begin to appear 
  • Created By: Journalist
  • FOR: General Public (not scholarly)

Weeks Later: Magazines

  • More detailed reporting including interviews, opinions, and analysis
  • Authors are diverse: professional journalists, commentators, scholars, or experts in the field
  • Factual information BUT can have bias reflecting the publication
  • Usually, no bibliography or works cited
  • Created By: Journalist
  • FOR: General Public to knowledgeable citizens (Not Scholarly)

Months Later: Scholarly Journals

  • Detailed analysis backed by evidence-based research
  • Peer-reviewed which helps ensure accuracy and quality
  • Detailed bibliographies or works cited
  • Can be difficult to understand because of discipline-specific language or jargon
  • Created By: experts and scholars in the field
  • FOR: a specific audience (scholars, specialists, students)

Years Later: Books

  • In-depth coverage often providing comprehensive overviews of the topic
  • Detailed bibliographies
  • May have a bias as authors' credentials and authority can vary 
  • Can be scholarly (detailed analysis) or popular (general discussion)
  • Created By: specialists and/or scholars in the field
  • FOR: General public to specialists

Years After: Reference Books

  • Factual information is written with little emotion 
  • Authors are scholars and/or experts
  • Broad coverage of a topic 
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