Skip to main content
Reading the newspaper
In 2015, ProQuest conducted a study on researchers’ use of news resources. This is the first in a five-part series focused on the study results and use of news resources in research. 
We all love a good story. And storytelling has been the medium by which humans have passed on information from generation to generation across cultures and civilizations. Today, we consume stories from multiple mediums. At a typical start of the day we turn to news to keep up with ongoing events or discover what happened overnight. The newspaper, as a medium of storytelling, has persisted even as more and more ways to create and consume news have developed.
Libraries are the gateway to rising news usage
In academic research, the use of news content as a primary source has grown in popularity and is the second most relied upon type of content after scholarly journals. A ProQuest study of how humanities researchers use news resources in their dissertations and theses showed a 40% increase in usage per year for three consecutive years. In fact, looking across all content types during a nine month period in 2015 revealed that researchers choose news full-text articles nearly 30% of the time to support their research projects. The appeal for users of online library resources is that, rather than going to individual news sites, they can access thousands of news sources via one search interface. They can conduct research quickly, narrow results and retrieve the citations they need.
So, why the rise in popularity of news resources at higher education institutions? 
As a primary resource for stories, newspapers play an important role as they include eyewitness accounts to events that were told at a particular point in time. Having a description given by a person at an event, who they were with, how they felt in the moment and so on can provide details that are missing in other historical publications. Newspapers provide researchers with a powerful snapshot in time. As a content source, newspapers also help researchers verify the dates of events, people, and organizations as well as trace the changing perceptions of issues over time.
Researchers also appreciate the use of a good story as a way to tell their own stories and provide context for their opinions and findings. Writing compelling articles requires not only formulating convincing arguments supported by authoritative sources but also connecting the intended readers with a story and setting that resonates with them or compels them to take an interest.
Closer to home: family history research
The personal intrigue of our past is also evidenced by the use of genealogy resources, particularly in public libraries. Genealogists identify a family member’s birthday or want to find out more about a relative and research historical news events during the relative’s lifetime. Libraries are a community hub for local history. For librarians supporting users, aggregation of regional news is important to researchers. Finding relevant information is easy with full-text searching.
Next week, read more on ProQuest’s study of researchers’ use of news sources.

In 2015, ProQuest conducted a study on researchers’ use of news resources. This is the first in a five-part series focused on the study results and use of news resources in research. 

We all love a good story. And storytelling has been the medium by which humans have passed on information from generation to generation across cultures and civilizations. Today, we consume stories from multiple mediums. At a typical start of the day, we turn to news to keep up with ongoing events or discover what happened overnight. The newspaper, as a medium of storytelling, has persisted even as more and more ways to create and consume news have developed.

Libraries are the gateway to rising news usage

In academic research, the use of news content as a primary source has grown in popularity and is the second most relied upon type of content after scholarly journals. A ProQuest study of how humanities researchers use news resources in their dissertations and theses showed a 40% increase in usage per year for three consecutive years. In fact, looking across all content types during a nine-month period in 2015 revealed that researchers choose news full-text articles nearly 30% of the time to support their research projects. The appeal for users of online library resources is that, rather than going to individual news sites, they can access thousands of news sources via one search interface. They can conduct research quickly, narrow results and retrieve the citations they need.

So, why the rise in popularity of news resources at higher education institutions? 

As a primary resource for stories, newspapers play an important role as they include eyewitness accounts to events that were told at a particular point in time. Having a description given by a person at an event, who they were with, how they felt in the moment and so on can provide details that are missing in other historical publications. Newspapers provide researchers with a powerful snapshot in time. As a content source, newspapers also help researchers verify the dates of events, people, and organizations as well as trace the changing perceptions of issues over time.

Researchers also appreciate the use of a good story as a way to tell their own stories and provide context for their opinions and findings. Writing compelling articles requires not only formulating convincing arguments supported by authoritative sources but also connecting the intended readers with a story and setting that resonates with them or compels them to take an interest.

Closer to home: family history research

The personal intrigue of our past is also evidenced by the use of genealogy resources, particularly in public libraries. Genealogists identify a family member’s birthday or want to find out more about a relative and research historical news events during the relative’s lifetime. Libraries are a community hub for local history. For librarians supporting users, aggregation of regional news is important to researchers. Finding relevant information is easy with full-text searching.

Next week, read more on ProQuest’s study of researchers’ use of news sources.

Source: ProQuest News user surveys, 2015

15 Mar 2016

Related Posts

The Pittsburgh Courier, Feb 24, 1934

A “Galaxy of Brilliant Stars” in Black History

Blog post regarding Carter G. Woodson, Black History Month and understanding black history and culture through newspapers. Written by Matthew Delmont, Associate Professor of History at Arizona State University and posted on February 25, 2016.…

Learn More

Chicago Tribune, December 19, 1903

How Research on Flight Led to Discoveries about Race Relations

Blog post regarding serendipity in research. "What really struck me was the serendipitous discovery of an article on race relations when I was looking for Wright brothers material," says the author. Written by Stanley Bowling, Supervisor, Content…

Learn More

The New York Times, Nov 17, 2005, p. A1

‘Making a Murderer’ in the Media

Blog post on the popular Netflix series 'Making a Murderer:' Is Steven Avery innocent? Newspapers, journals and dissertations could help you decide. Written by Beth McGough and posted February 10, 2016.…

Learn More

Search the Blog

Archive

Follow