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CORE 162: Investigating Epidemics

The Information Cycle

An infographic of the information cycle

What is the information cycle?

The term "Information Cycle" refers to the way that information is produced and distributed, and how it changes over time. Usually, it's used to describe the progression of media coverage relating to a particular newsworthy event or topic.

Understanding how the information cycle works will help you to know what kinds of information may be available on your topic as you locate and evaluate research sources.

The progression of the information cycle is connected to the amount of time after an event:

  • Same Day - social media, mobile phone communication, mainstream media (TV, radio, Internet news sites)
  • Next Day/Week of - newspapers
  • Following Week(s) -  popular magazines, general government information
  • Months (or more) later - scholarly journals
  • One year (or more) later - books, government reports, reference material