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Advanced Research: Producers/Types of Information (formal and informal)

This guide is for MSJC students and advanced researchers and features topics such as strategic browsing, finding data and research tips to make your research process more efficient.

Producers, Types, Formal/Informal

Explore the possible producers of information about any topic.  There are any number of organizations and individuals who might have an interest in the topic.

Information Producers

Information Producers
Government agencies site:
Congress site:
Research institutes and societies typically nonpartisan and blatantly biased
Community and regional organizations local organizations and agencies and their efforts to deal with issues
Scholars and researchers at college and universities for in-depth scientific studies, quantitative and qualitative research.


Information Types

Question Analysis - Information Types
Information Types Producers
Bibliographic and full-text indexes and databases for Congressional hearings and executive agency reports
Statistical sources published by appropriate government agencies and departments
Maps, charts, and pictures produced by agencies and other groups showing commercial zoning, investment data, land surveys and studies.
Interviews or editorials by private citizens about their perceptions and experiences. 


Formal/Informal Sources

When starting your research, consider whether you will need formal sources (i.e., journals and books that are obtained from the library) or whether you will need more informal sources. Informal sources may complement formal sources when the latter cannot supply crucial information. An informal source could be an individual or organization that specializes in a particular topic. Information from informal sources can be obtained by interviews, letters, emails or phone calls. Keep in mind that you may need a combination of both formal and informal sources to identify the full range of information!