collage of ports

This site will be taken down June 30, 2018.

The Penn Online Research Tutorial (PORT) site was built with old software that is neither sustainable nor secure.
The pages have not been maintained, but they can be consulted for historical reference on the Internet Archive.
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Information about an event will appear over time in different types of resources. Depending on the type of research you are doing, you may need to consider the time frame in which the information has been published. This time line indicates the minimum amount of time after an event takes places or an idea is developed that information about it filters into various types of mediainformation may always appear later.
Day-Days Week Months Year-Years
Newspapers Popular Magazines Scholarly Journals Books
Reference Works

What could go wrong?
You may run into a number of problems if you don't consider the currency of information.
  • The information may have been proven incorrect.
  • More recent interpretations may have become standard.
  • You may use a source that isn't relevant to your topic.
  • Scholars may see that you have used inappropriate sources and disregard your research.
How to avoid it:
Understand when and why currency is an important factor in choosing sources.
What to look for!
Time-Sensitive Research:
  Research about current events
Research about events occurring in the present or very recent past must rely on media with a short information cycle. Events that happened less than a week ago may only be covered on the Internet, newspapers and radio transcripts.
  Research that relies on time-sensitive information and theory
Researchers needing current data such as statistics, scientific breakthroughs or current events may want to use journals, newspapers or even the Internet to access information. Furthermore, researchers should be careful with older works that may be dated.
  Time sensitive historical research
Researchers needing primary resources that are very contemporary with an event will likely have more luck using newspapers, magazines and personal accounts from that time period than using books or journal articles, which often appear long after the event being considered.