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Get Started with Basic Research

This guide provides an introductory overview of how to use library resources as well as tips for researching information and citing sources.

What is the Information Cycle?

The Information Cycle is the progression of media coverage of a newsworthy event. It refers to how information is produced and distributed over time. Understanding the Information Cycle will help you determine what types of sources may be available for your research topic. Information comes from different sources including: 

  • Social media (Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)

  • Mainstream Media (TV news, Internet news, etc)

  • Popular Magazines

  • Scholarly Journals

  • Books

When researching a topic, you need to investigate a variety of sources to gather enough information. 

the information cycle infographic


What is peer review?

Not all scholarly articles are considered peer-reviewed!

Peer-reviewed journals contain scholarly articles that have been reviewed by a panel of scholars or experts in a particular discipline before publication.

Peer reviewed journals are generally scholarly, but not all scholarly journals are peer reviewed.

A comparison of peer-reviewed and scholarly journals. Adapted from "What's the difference between scholarly and peer-reviewed articles?" by University of Toronto Libraries. Retrieved from


You can read more about the peer review process here.


The CRAAP Test is a helpful tool for evaluating a source's credibility and deciding whether you should use it in your assignment. It uses five criteria in the acronym: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose.

The CRAAP Test questions are meant to serve as a guide rather than a checklist.


Lateral Reading