Research-Based vs Community-based – Thoughts?

A helpful comparison developed by a student in INFO 200 a few semester ago that can guide you as you select your resources:

A Research-based information source is:
• Published by experts or academics
• Intended for use by many different people (community members, academics, etc.)
• One-way communication (from expert to reader)
• Provides fact-based authoritative content
• Fact-checked and edited
• May be formally preserved (books, encyclopedias, etc)
• May have community input, but exists outside of community control

A Community-based information source is:
• Published by community members
• Intended for use by the community
• Two-way communication (publisher and readers interact)
• Provides information of interest to the community
• Information may not be reliable
• Tends to be transitory in nature
• Community has both input and control of information flow

My thought: A community-based resource is a resource that includes info created and used by/within the community itself. The reference-based resources are published works by academics and experts (and authoritative sites, for example) while community-based might be sites online where the community gather and interact: social media sites, etc.

Note the featured image. I tested the chart above with one of my fascinations: the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and specifically the submarine Nautilus. Allow me to geek out bit and tell you the pic is of my very own limited edition Nautilus purchased from Japan last year. I found out about it via an information community I participate in devoted to the sub! So, the examples I might use to “test” the above is this. Can you tell which is which?

  • The threads about the Japanese limited edition model on the Nautilus Fan Site, where members shared what they knew about it as well as all the other threads devoted to the making of the movies, etc.
  • Entries on the film, the visuals, and Harper Goff, the designer of the Nautilus for 20K, in a book published all about great special effects in science fiction films.

A loaded question! But does that make sense?


28 thoughts on “Research-Based vs Community-based – Thoughts?

  1. Jennifer Ford

    @michael I have a question regarding the research-based information source. Could it be an entire database or should it be specific to a journal or encyclopedia? Also, this should be a source that our community uses, not one that contains research based on the needs of our community, correct?

  2. Janna

    @michael question regarding researched-based source: how can I tell if a book has been edited and fact-checked? There are 2 bibliographies I’m considering, neither lists an editor. (One was published by the American Library Association.) Thanks.

  3. Jennifer Ford

    @michael Another question: I’m looking at EBSCOhost as a research-based source, but is that too large and not specific enough? I just know that our district uses it at the high school level for students to do research, but I am wondering if there are smaller databases within EBSCOhost? I looked at it on my daughter’s computer (a teen), and I couldn’t see anything more than a “one search” option. Thoughts?

  4. Monica Wieler

    @michael After reading this post I have tweaked my choice for the community resource. Initially I was thinking AARP but found that to be not quite what the assignment calls for. I have found two online communities that serve seniors! They both act as a clearinghouse for seniors on a range of topics. My main question is should I look for a website more specific or will one of these work? My research based is an article that has been peer reviewed and cited many times about the fun culture of senior online communities!

  5. Jennifer Ford

    @michael, the more I look at EBSCOHost as my research-based source, the more I am considering an alternative. Our school district also offers Britannica Encyclopedia online, called Britannica School, separated by elementary, middle, and high school levels. I am thinking this may be a better option to write about, but again it is an entire database…so I hope that is okay.

    Also, as an encyclopedia, because it is on the web and able to be updated frequently, would it be somewhat in the middle of the information cycle, just after “early?” I wasn’t sure if it should be equated with “Web” sources.

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