Let’s think about time and the flow of information from another angle. Different types of information sources have radically different publication cycles. For example:
- Newspapers (both print and online) are typically produced on a daily basis.
- Popular magazines like Time, Sports Illustrated, In Style, and so on, might be issued once a week or once a month.
- Scholarly journals might be issued only a few times a year.
- Books might take years to research, write, edit, and publish.
Research materials typically undergo a thorough peer review process before they are published. This means that scholarly research materials typically take much longer to produce than popular materials, such as magazines.
Why is knowing all this important? If your topic is relatively current or recent, this will limit the types of information sources available to you. For example, you’ll find many newspaper and magazine articles about the 2019 wildfires in California, but you’ll probably find very few, if any, scholarly research articles or books yet.
Understanding the role that time plays in the production and dissemination of information helps you know where to look, and what types of information you’re most likely to find.