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 research-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?


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

  1. Kevin M

    @michael Is it possible for an information source to be positioned in more than one place on the Information Cycle? As the show of my fan base is still on the air, information is covered that is both old and new. For instance, I am going to use a YouTube channel for my community-based resource, which has a community page where one could participate in discussing the latest episode while the site also produces multiple videos including some that look back and break down the origin of characters and story arcs that could be over 30 years old. My research-based source is clearer, being later in the cycle as it is a published book that is looking back, but it too is discussing a show still on the air. Thank you in advance.

    1. Michael Stephens Post author

      @kevinm I would say that a community-based source runs the gamut of early in the info cycle to late – as you point out. And you make a good point about a publish book being later in the information cycle so probably a community-based source since always dancing around that earlier time. Maybe even when they look back because they are taking into account what is happening now. Does that help? This seems almost philosophical.

  2. Kevin M

    @michael This definitely helps with the community based source as being on a spectrum of the info cycle, thank you. I believe my book is still research based, later in the cycle, as it looks back at the cultural impact of the show on society and television, utilizing only a small fraction past shows to highlight the author’s points. It’s not focused on current episodes or issues happening now (despite a conclusion considering the future of the show) and won’t be getting updated editions.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.