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Research Guides

Research 101: Information Creation is a Process

This guide contains modules focused on introducing students to academic research

Information Creation is a Process


1. Use the following table to describe source types:



How it is 


Who is able

to create it?

Is there a review process? Should there be?

What is the best use of the information from this format?

How can I locate information in this format?

(example: blog)



2. Assign students to identify the format of the sources they find for a given research project and articulate why the chosen formats are appropriate for the information need.


3. Ask students to transform information they have created in one format to another format, and to write a reflection on what they needed to consider as they went through the process.




Welcome to Research 101: Format Matters.

Books, newspapers, tweets, news articles, blogs, and internet memes. Information sources are created for a variety of purposes and come in many formats. The value of the information and its potential use in your research often depends on WHO is creating the source, WHY they are sharing the information, and WHAT the process is to get it published. In this video, we’re going to focus on the process of publishing information and what it means for your research.

Let’s look at three sources. A scholarly article, a news story and a tweet. Each of these sources is full of information, but they each go through different processes in order to be published.

A scholarly article is often written by people who have expertise in their field. After they conduct research, they write an article. When they are ready to publish they send it to a scholarly journal. If the journal is interested in publishing the article they will send it to a panel of experts to check the methods and quality of work. This is called the peer review process. The experts will make notes about where it needs to be improved or changed. The author will then edit the article before it is published. The extensive process of peer review means that often what is published in academic journals is well documented and thoroughly researched.

Now, a news story. Whether found online or in print format, a news story goes through a slightly different process to be published. News articles often come from a single reporter whose job it is to write about a particular topic. He or she is not an expert but tries to do enough research to explain a topic to a general audience. An editor or other manager must sign off on the reporter's work before it can be published.

A tweet has very little process. A member of the site can type a message and publish it immediately.

Sometimes a news article or another online resource like a blog or a tweet may be better than a scholarly source. For example, there may be little or no scholarly research on your topic. Additionally scholarly articles take a long time to publish; if you are researching a recent event a news article may have more information. Alternatively, a blog post or a tweet may have excellent information, depending on who is writing it and why. Researchers should use the information found in any source with informed skepticism, but the format does tells you something about how the information was created.

As you become an experienced researcher, you may wish to share your own research with others in your field. These venues include events (such as conferences and undergraduate research fairs) and scholarly journals. You may also want to post your findings to social media and other souces to gain a bigger audience.

To recap:
All information formats can be useful depending on how you use it.
The format tells a researcher about how the information was created.
You are empowered to share information in a variety of formats too!



Information in any format is produced to convey a message and is shared via a selected delivery method. The iterative processes of researching, creating, revising, and disseminating information vary, and the resulting product reflects these differences

Learning goals:

  • Articulate the capabilities and constraints of information developed through various creation processes
  • Assess the fit between an information product’s creation process and a particular information need
  • Articulate the traditional and emerging processes of information creation and dissemination in a particular discipline
  • Recognize that information may be perceived differently based on the format in which it is packaged
  • Recognize the implications of information formats that contain static or dynamic information
  • Monitor the value that is placed upon different types of information products in varying contexts
  • Transfer knowledge of capabilities and constraints to new types of information products
  • Develop, in their own creation processes, an understanding that their choices impact the purposes for which the information product will be used and the message it conveys


Please note the information contained in this guide is meant to help supplement a class, assignment, or curriculum. Please use the embed links or copy and paste the information into your course guide or site. 

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