Research LOOP » Research Process » Knowledge Cycle

Knowledge Cycle

"Where Do I Start?"

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Have you ever wondered how a simple question or a single event in history becomes the focus of research and scholarly analysis?

In this tutorial, you will learn about:

  • The timeline for producing scholarly information
  • The resources available throughout the information cycle
  • The types of information used and produced in different disciplines

How Much Do You Already Know?

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A Timeline of Information

When an event occurs, the information available about that event progresses from the reporting of facts to the publication of scholarly literature. Let's follow the journey from occurrence to scholarly research and analysis.

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Minutes to Hours After the Event

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Days to Weeks After

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Months to Years After

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...And More Years

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A Cycle of Revolving Research

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When first learning about a topic you can start and move to any point in the research cycle depending on the type of information you need.

 

Quick Check

Where's the best place to look for different types of information? Match the resource with the type of information it provides.

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Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Sources

The information you find and use along the cycle of research can also be broken down into three types of sources: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Is there enough information on your topic? If not, review the earlier steps for starting your research. It's normal to refine and revise your topic multiple times.

Primary Sources

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Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Sources

Secondary Sources

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Primary, Secondary, & Tertiary Sources

Tertiary Sources

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Check Your Understanding

Sort the materials into the correct category.

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Building the Pyramid of Scholarly Information

Understanding the timeline of producing scholarly information helps you to estimate how much and what kind of information you will find about a topic. As a scholar's expertise increases, the more focused and specific his or her research becomes.

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Research and Information for Different Disciplines

It is also important to understand the different types of information that can be researched in different areas of study.

Discipline Humanities Sciences Social Sciences
Purpose of Research To understand and analyze the meaning of individual events, people, and creative works To observe and understand natural phenomena To solve social problems and understand group interactions
Research Methodology Qualitative Quantitative Qualitative, Quantitative
Examples of Primary Sources Creative works, diaries, letters, interviews, news footage Results of experiments, research and clinical trials Census data, statistics, results of experiments of human behavior
Examples of Secondary and Tertiary Sources Books, journal articles, textbooks, reference material Books, journal articles, textbooks, reference material Books, journal articles, textbooks, reference material

 

Note: This section of the Research LOOP is adapted from a tutorial created by the University of California Libraries.