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Research and Writing (RaW): Understanding Information

Guiding you through the process of finding information - from knowing that you need certain locating, evaluating, and effectively using said information.


The Flow of Information

The flow of information is a conceptual timeline of how information is created, disseminated, and found.  Information is dispersed through a variety of channels. Depending on the type of information, the time it takes to reach its audience could range from seconds to minutes, days to weeks, or months to years. Knowing how information flows helps you understand what types of information you need and how to search and obtain the targeted information.

 Source: Production Time: Find: Written by: Written for:
Web Pages Seconds/Minutes to Years -Online                               Anyone General public to Specialists

News (Internet / TV / Radio)

Seconds/Minutes -Websites
-TV news
Journalists General public
Newspapers Day/Several Days -Online newspaper websites
-Newspaper indexes
Professional journalists General public
Magazines Week/Weeks -Periodical indexes
-Library catalog
Professional journalists, poets, writers of fiction, and essayists General public to knowledgeable layperson
Electronic or Print Journals Starting at 3-6 months -Library catalog
-Article database
-Journal website
-Google Scholar
Specialists in the field, usually scholars with PhDs Scholars, specialists, and students
Books 2 years + -Library catalog Specialists/scholars General public to specialists
Ebooks 2 years + -Library catalog
-Digital collections
Specialists/scholars General public to specialists
Reference Sources Average of 10 years -Library catalog Specialists/scholars General public to specialists

*from the UCLA Library