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Human Services

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." (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/information)

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. Check out the video below for more on this topic:

Types of Sources


You may be asked to use a number of different types of sources including Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary:

Primary Sources

Primary Sources consist of original materials--a first-hand account of something. This information has not been filtered through interpretation. Examples of primary sources include:

  • an original journal or diary
  • a novel, poem or play
  • original notes from an experiment or original research
  • an original letter
  • a piece of artwork or furniture, musical score, or theatrical performance

 

Secondary Sources

Secondary Sources are written after something has happened and has the benefit of hindsight. This information includes interpretations and evaluations of primary information. Examples of secondary sources include:

  • a critique of a poem, play, or piece of literature
  • a history book based on primary historical sources
  • a scientific report based on experimental notes
  • commentaries and criticisms
  • biographical works

 

Tertiary Sources

Tertiary Sources are a distillation and collection of primary and secondary information. They usually include or are based on a range of secondary sources. Examples of tertiary sources include:

  • almanacs
  • fact books
  • encyclopedias
  • chronologies
  • guidebooks
  • manuals
  • directories

Check out these videos for more information: