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Graduate Student Research Guide

Appropriate for all SNHU graduate students or individuals conducting research for graduate or scholarly papers with Shapiro Library resources.

Understanding Information

What is Information?

"1. knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance; 2. knowledge gained through study, communication, research, instruction, etc." (

Information includes both facts and opinions. We are constantly bombarded by information through television, the Internet, newspapers, billboards, conversations, etc. What is important is how we use information and how it becomes meaningful to us. 

What are Sources?

"1. someone or something that provides what is wanted or needed; 2. the cause of something (such as a problem) 3. a person, book, etc., that gives information" (

In academic writing, sources are the materials from which the writer gathers information. It is important that you evaluate the sources of your information to be sure that each source is accurate, relevant, current, objective, and authoritative. For more information on evaluating resources, visit the Evaluating Resources tab on this guide.

The Information Cycle

When events occur or news stories come out, information about the event or story are created and change over time. The Information Cycle refers to the process by which information is created, disseminated, and changed over time--from the time of the event or story to the next day, week, or years to come. Understanding the information cycle is critical to recognizing the accuracy, authoritativeness, currency, etc. of the information you find and may help you understand what information is available on a particular topic.