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Typology of Information

According to, the kind of information you are looking for may be

categorized as the following:

1. Factual vs. Analytical

Factual information is based on evidences and findings provided by reliable sources.

These sources may include academic texts such as books, encyclopedias, periodicals, or

technical reports by agencies and institutions. Analytical information, on the other hand,

is an analysis or interpretation of facts by an individual, usually an expert on the subject.

Examples of such would be feature articles, commentaries, or reviews.

Subjective vs. Objective

When you consult an expert opinion, such as those found in the editorial section of

a newspaper or in Web log entries of prolific writers, you are using a subjective kind of

information. This is because the information is about the discussion and elaboration of

a thesis statement which is still anchored on facts. It is important to evaluate the validity

of the claims in subjective information because a valid argument is more often than not

a successful argument. If the information is unbiased and does not lead you to judge the

information in a certain way, then it is objective information. Scientific papers and news

reports are common sources of objective information.


Current vs. Historical

The currency of information refers to how up-to-date or how recent the information

is. It does not necessarily follow that the more current the information, the more reliable

and useful it is. There are information that are historical or old but are very helpful in

providing insights and comparison of events. Publication date of the source material

is the usual basis for currency. A combination of current and historical information,
especially in research, provides a more holistic picture. You are able to establish trends

or patterns when you make use of both.

But the requirement for the use of either current or historical information depends

on the discipline that makes use of them. In the hard or natural sciences, the more recent

findings are preferred. For the humanities, historical information is primarily used to

describe an event or phenomenon. The social sciences usually consult both current and

historical information.

4. Scholarly (Academic/Professional/Technical) vs. Popular

When you are asked to write an academic paper, what sources does your teacher

ask you to consult? Scholarly information comes from academic sources. It is a product

of an author's expertise and study on the subject matter. It is usually peer-reviewed.

Popular information, on the other hand, appeals to general interest and is usually found

in general circulation materials such as magazines, coffee table books, or online feature

articles. Table 3.1 differentiates a scholarly source and a popular source of information.





research papers


topic review; and usually include

bibliographies of primary and

secondary sources

provide access to materials on

specific topics
bibliography (citation list) of

primary and secondary sources

about a person or topic


databases and indexes

Source: (accessed 16 September 2015)


nt factor


Stable vs. Unstable

Information may be stable or unstable. Stability becomes a consideration especially

when the information you have obtained is published digitally over the Internet. It is

often difficult to know how long a certain Web site or page will last. But an online source

may still be predicted to be stable or otherwise by evaluating it based on the following

questions (Ballenger 2009):

Has it been around for a long time?

Is it routinely updated?

Are print versions of an online document available?

Is the site associated with a reputable institution?

Media and Information: Cultures, Communities, and Technologies,