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ENG 100 Information Literacy Tutorial: Information

Information Types

Information Creation as a Process

Information is created to convey a message, and different types indicate the kind of information is being expressed. Expert researchers:

  • Consider the strengths and weaknesses of each information type
  • Assess the fit between the information found and the information needed

​Please visit the ARCL Frame "Information Creation as a Process" for more info

Types of Information

Two types of information will be explored below: periodicals and reference books.


If you need current information, periodicals are your best sources. Periodicals include newspapersmagazinesand journals that are published in a regular, recurring basis, e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Periodicals are found in print on the 3rd floor of the library, as well as online in our many research databases.


If you need current information or recent research, periodicals will be your best sources. Periodicals are publications which are published on a regular, recurring basis: Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. 
Periodicals include newspapers, popular magazines, and academic or scholarly journals.

More current than books...

In some dynamic fields like technology and the sciences, periodicals are especially important because of the rapid pace of change occurring in these areas. 

Popular Magazines & Newspapers

Popular magazines and newspapers fall into the category of periodicals that you are most familiar with. These titles are intended for general audiences and contain articles on recent news, events, popular culture, and people. 
Popular magazine articles are short to medium in length, avoid the use of technical jargon and language, contain colorful photos and graphics, and are generally by journalists and writers.  You can readily spot popular magazines by their full color covers and the many advertisements inside. 
Newspapers are a type of periodical generally published on a daily or weekly basis.  Here you will find the who,what, where, when, and why of newsworthy events. Articles are short to medium in length and written by reporters in language aimed at a basic reading level.  
If you are in need of information concerning a local topic, issue, or event, local newspapers such as the Honolulu Star-Advertiser are valuable sources. 
Popular magazines and newspapers are good sources for research conducted in ENG 100 and other introductory-level courses.  Sometimes, though, you will need to use more academic and research-oriented sources.  This is when you will turn to scholarly or academic journals.

Scholarly Journals

Scholarly or academic journals (also known as peer-reviewed journals) are periodicals with the specific purpose of reporting on research by scholars and researchers in a field of study. Articles are written and published for a specialized audience with an advanced knowledge and understanding of the subject being reported on. 
Prior to publication, submitted articles undergo a rigorous process of review by a group of peers - other scholars or researchers in the field. The peer review panel checks the research for originality and reliability. Only after approval by the peer-review panel is the article ready for publication in the journal.
Scholarly journal articles are lengthy, written in highly technical language, and usually lack the color graphics and user-friendly layout of popular magazines. Instead you will find many tables, charts, and graphs as well as extensive bibliographies and references.
Scholarly articles are appropriate for many of the topics you will be researching.  Just be sure you can understand what's being said in the article before selecting it as one of your sources.

Trade Journals

The third category of periodicals you might encounter are trade journals. Superficially, trade journals look like popular magazines with lots of color photos and graphics, short articles, and advertisements. The difference is in the intended audience.  Whereas popular magazines are aimed at the general public, trade journals are specifically aimed at the professionals working in a trade or profession.  Trade journals are often published by professional organizations and associations.
Trade journals are useful for career research and for learning about the news, issues, and concerns within a profession. 


If you need historicalcomprehensive, and detailed information, then you need a good book! Books are often long and full of useful information. 


Books are essential information sources because they provide in-depth discussion and analysis of subjects. Books represent knowledge accumulated over many years, decades, and centuries. 
It takes time for writers to do research, analyze their findings, organize their thoughts, and finally write a book. After that it may take a year or longer for a book to be accepted for publication and then become available to you. This process results in better quality control since books undergo such extensive review and editing prior to publication.

More comprehensive than periodicals...

Books can help you to frame that new idea or discovery within a broader historical context. Books provide more thoughtful insight and thorough analysis of the issues, ideas, and events in our world. 

Reference Books

Reference books are ideal starting places for any research assignment.  These specialized books will provide you with background information to help select and define your topic.  
Reference books are used to obtain basic definitions, background information, data, and summaries of people, places, and events.  They are designed for quick and easy access to information and so are usually not read from cover to cover. Reference books can be found in the library's Ready Reference and Reference collections.  
The library also provides online access to over 700 reference books through our Credo Reference e-book collection.  With this online collection a reference book is never more than a few clicks away!
The next two sections discuss the most common types of reference books: Encyclopedias and Dictionaries


Encyclopedias cover a wide range of human knowledge.  All encyclopedias are organized in the form of articles arranged alphabetically by topic. There are two types of encyclopedias:

General encyclopedias

These works cover a wide range of subject areas and disciplines. CREDO Reference is an example of an online general encyclopedia that covers all branches of human knowledge.  

Subject encyclopedias

Also known as specialized encyclopedias, subject encyclopedias are narrower or more limited in scope, focusing on a specific branch of knowledge or specific subject area. Scarne's Encyclopedia of Games is an example of a print encyclopedia that covers a specific subject (games!).


Like encyclopedias, dictionaries come in both general and specialized types.

General dictionaries

A standard dictionary provides the correct spelling of English-language words, meanings, and pronunciations.  Typical examples include the Random House Webster's College Dictionary and Webster's Third New International Dictionary Unabridged.  

Specialized dictionaries

Specialized dictionaries provide short definitions and summaries about concepts, issues, people, and places.  They can focus on specific subjects and historical time periods.

Examples at the library include The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Korean Standard Dictionary, Dictionary of Biology, and the Historical Dictionary of the People's Republic of China.  

Regular Library Hours
General Information: (808) 455‑0210
Reference Support: (808) 455‑0379