ENGL 099 Introductory Composition

formerly English 100

Learn about your Topic

Starting with reference sources

Start with Reference Sources for the basic facts about issues, definitions, history, etc.: 

Learn more about your topic in the news:

Information Timeline

Information Timeline

Information is created and shared across various mediums and at different times after an initial event takes place.

(Click on image to enlarge)

information timeline graphic

Source: "Information Timeline" by QCCLibrary, educational use

After an event occurs, you can look to…

Social Media sources
  • within minutes – here social media platforms “breaks” the story. Info may be incomplete, false, or biased.
  • Examples: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Blogs, etc.
News sites, TC, Radio & Daily Newspapers
  • within days – As time passes, info gets added, updated and verified. Opinions emerge. Examples: cnn.com, BBC radio, New York Times, etc.
Weekly magazines
  • within a week – These offer more insight, likely to include context info, interviews, related topics.
  • Examples: Newsweek, Time, People, The New Yorker
Monthly magazines
  • within a month – additional time allows for better reporting. May include opinions.
  • Example: Time, People Magazine, Wired, National Geographic, Scientific American
Scholarly journals
  • Within 3+ months – written by experts, well-researched and objective.
  • Examples: Journal of American Culture, Nature, JAMA
  • Within 12+ months – benefits most from hindsight. Gives most in-depth coverage of a topic.
  • Examples: non-fiction titles, textbooks, reference materials, etc

Develop and map your topic

Keep this checklist with you to help you ask questions that will organize your research.

Download the “Develop and Map your Topic” brainstorm chart below