1.1 Analyzing and Categorizing Information
We all put information into categories whether we realize it or not.
Fiction vs. nonfiction. Broadcast vs. print. Magazines vs. books. When
you walk into a library or bookstore, the items are arranged in subject
categories (psychology, history, etc.) or by format or media type (CD,
Info can be analyzed by the order in which it is produced—this
is the general focus of the primary/secondary/tertiary categories in
section 1.3. Info can be categorized by who produces it and who the
major audience is, as with the popular/scholarly/trade categories in
section 1.2. Info also can appear in a number of formats, as module 1.4
Why does this matter?
- A class assignment might require you to use only scholarly
sources. How do you find and identify those?
- A presentation (for class or on the job) could benefit from a
mix of formats. For example, you might want to use the actual audio
of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech for a history class
PowerPoint or part of a competitor’s commercial for a market share
analysis for your boss.
- You want the text of a speech by your state Senator to clarify
his/her position on an important issue. You heard a little of it on
the local news, but want to make sure you get the whole picture.
Where do you find the actual words of the entire speech, either in
print or in some type of database?
- Knowing how information is categorized helps you make sense of
it all. It helps you keep your sanity, and choose the best sources
for your particular purpose.