Research-Based vs Community-based – Thoughts?

A helpful comparison developed by a student in INFO 200 a few semesters 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 a few years ago. 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?


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

  1. Sarah Greer

    Thank you this was very helpful! When was researching different sources to choose I felt I was blending the distinctions between research and community based information. It is always nice to have a checklist.

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