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colleagues; each paper that is presented is usually no more than an hour long, often shorter. Conferences tend to be organised around a topic, or defined subject. As a result, conference proceedings will tend to contain large numbers of highly specific papers that present detailed information on very tightly defined topics; the information is usually very recent.

• Journals are, in many cases, designed solely or predominantly for an academic audience and the papers in them are refereed, that is, checked for quality by experts. Hundreds of journals are published; like conferences, they are tightly themed. Media International Australia is a premier journal, usually focusing on Australian issues concerning the media: print and electronic. Articles tend to be longer, providing academics with greater scope to explain and explore their topic; but they also serve as part of an in-depth long-term conversation among scholars and experts in various intellectual disciplines.

• Popular magazines are intended to be read by people without much knowledge in a particular subject, but an interest. They are, predominantly, also governed by the need to attract and retain readership. The information is heavily processed to make it understandable-, simplicity, rather than complexity, is the aim; brevity ensures continued attention; examples and evidence are often sacrificed for the sake of a strong theme; research is limited.

What creates these different categories, then, is a mix of the mode of production, the intended audience and the manner of publication. We cannot, for example, make the above three distinctions without relying on the others. Journals appear as a distinct category precisely because there are other forms of publishing that are categorised differently. It is the relationship that matters. For analytical purposes, these clues provide only marginal assistance in making sense of the information, rich and complex, which we find in these sources. All they do is guide us, to some extent, as to the reliability of that information and perhaps the directness of the source (see 'Direct and indirect sources' later in this chapter). Thus, when we consider a key issue in reasoning—are our premises well founded? (chapter 5)—we can see that this foundation is provided, very often, by the source of the information. Thus, deciding what exactly to find and how to find it may not be helped by these categories, but they are important in finalising the strength and quality of argument. What we need at this stage are some other ways of thinking about how to find and use information.

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