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Rhetoric and Writing: The Information Timeline activity

Short cuts and research tips for Rhetoric and Writing students

The Information Timeline

This lesson/activity is informed by this article:

Carter, T. t., & Aldridge, T. t. (2016). The Collision of Two Lexicons: Librarians, Composition Instructors and the Vocabulary of Source Evaluation. Evidence Based Library & Information Practice, 11(1), 23-39.

ACRL  Framework: Information Creation as a Process

Lesson Objectives/What am I learning? The information literate student…

“will learn that information is disseminated in different formats and that the accuracy and thoroughness (rigor) of information is often related to the length of time it takes to produce the information and the format in which it is reported” (Carter & Aldridge, 2016).

Learning Outcomes/Why did I learn this?

Given an opportunity to review an extended-news-item example, I will be able to chart this on an information timeline by date of publication and format type.

Selected Resources: format citation examples.


Information Example:

Bouazizi, Mohamed

(Born March 29, 1984, Sidi Bouzid, Tun.—died Jan. 4, 2011, Ben Arous, Tun.) Tunisian street vendor whose self-immolation after being harassed by municipal officials catalyzed the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and helped inspire a wider pro-democracy protest movement in the Middle East and North Africa. Set himself on fire on: 17 December 2010.

                                                                                                      -From Encyclopedia Britannica, 2016



1. Facilitator introduces the concept of the Information Timeline (with a PowerPoint and example).

- Ask them to match examples with possible format products.

2. In groups, students examine citation examples to match onto an information timeline.

- facilitator sets up the info timeline on the wall (see the last chart)

- Students paste their citations on the wall

- (Gallery Walk): students get to review each other’s work, and discuss how precise it is.

3. Students discuss what it takes to publish in these formats:

- How does the concept of authority change?

- How does accuracy change?

- How does purpose change?

4. Debrief:

How would you adapt this according to your field of study if you were teaching this?



Citation Examples:

Instructions: print and cut out copies for four groups.

Citation: @LiberateTunisia. “A protestor just set himself on fire! Has the revolution to free Tunisia begun?” Twitter, Dec. 17, 2010, 3:00 pm.

[Please note: I made this tweet up! ]


Citation: @DougSaunders. "In the past 24 hours we have had people in Egypt, Algeria and Mauritania set themselves alight in echo of Tunisian protest." Twitter, 17 Jan. 2011, 5:35 a.m.

Quote: "Mohamed Bouazizi, the fruit vendor whose death may have changed the Arab world."               Friday Jan 28, 2011 9:32 AM. Retrieved from:



Citation: Shadid, Anthony. "Joy as Tunisian President Flees Offers Lesson to Arab Leaders." New York TImes. January 14, 2011. Retrieved from:

Quote: "BEIRUT, Lebanon — Hours after President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia on Friday, a Lebanese broadcaster, in triumphant tones, ended her report on the first instance of an Arab leader to be overthrown in popular protests by quoting a famous Tunisian poet.

“And the people wanted life,” she said, “and the chains were broken.”

In the end, the most dramatic change in the old Arab order in years was inspired by Mohamed Bouazizi, the 26-year-old university graduate who could find work only as a fruit and vegetable vendor. He set himself on fire in a city square in December when the police seized his cart and mistreated him."


Citation: Sterling, J. (2011). A year later, Bouazizi's legacy still burns. CNN [Website]. Retrieved from:

Quote: One year ago, Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi torched himself out of economic despair, and the news of his desperate act spread like a brushfire across the North African country, through the rest of the Arab world and around the globe.

His plight touched a chord in Tunisia, stirring popular anger and protest. Less than a month after the self-immolation, Tunisian President Zine el Abidine ben Ali was ousted from power.

Updated: 4:10 PM ET, Sat December 17, 2011



Citation: Simon, Bob. "How a slap sparked Tunisia's revolution." 22 Feb. 2011. 60 Minutes, NBC. Retrieved from:


Quote: "The wave of revolutions sweeping the Arab world started in a forgotten town in the flatlands of Tunisia. ...


… for 23 years, Tunisia was ruled by a corrupt and ruthless dictator named Zine Ben Ali, who filled his prisons with anyone who spoke out against him. He's gone now. A month ago, he left the country, quickly.


On the morning of Dec. 17, 26-yr.-old Mohammed Bouazizi was selling fruit from a cart as he did every day to support his family. He didn't have a license. But very few of the vendors did.


A municipal official, a woman, came by and confiscated his scale. It was worth $100 and Bouazizi knew he'd have to pay a bribe to get it back. This had happened to him before. But this time, he got mad. He complained and the woman slapped him. One slap in the face, and that's how the revolution began.


Citation: Ajami, Fouad. "Demise of the dictators." Newsweek. 6 Feb. 2011.

Quote: Historians of revolutions are never sure as to when these great upheavals in human affairs begin. But the historians will not puzzle long over the Arab Revolution of 2011. They will know, with precision, when and where the political tsunami that shook the entrenched tyrannies first erupted. A young Tunisian vegetable seller, Mohamed Bouazizi, in the hardscrabble provincial town of Sidi Bouzid, set himself on fire after his cart was confiscated and a headstrong policewoman slapped him across the face in broad daylight. The Arab dictators had taken their people out of politics, they had erected and fortified a large Arab prison, reduced men and women to mere spectators of their own destiny, and the simple man in that forlorn Tunisian town called his fellow Arabs back into the political world.



Michelsen, Nicholas. "The Political Subject Of Self-Immolation." Globalizations 12.1 (2015): 83-100. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.



Haas, Mark L., and David W. Lesch. The Arab Spring. [Electronic Resource] : Change And Resistance In The Middle East. n.p.: Boulder, CO : Westview Press, c2013., n.d. Nugget. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.



Mittermaier, Amira. "Death And Martyrdom In The Arab Uprisings: An Introduction." Ethnos: Journal Of Anthropology 80.5 (2015): 583. Publisher Provided Full Text Searching File. Web. 28 Aug. 2016.


Citation: Hassan, Adeel. "A Fruit Vendor Whose Death Led to a Revolution." 7 Dec. 2014. New York Times. Retrieved from:


Quote: "Mr. Bouazizi’s match also lit a fuse in the region. A wave of protests struck Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Jordan, and even spread to Turkey. Leaders have been toppled and blood has been shed in the Arab Spring."




Fosshagen, K. (n.d). Arab Spring: uprisings, powers, interventions. New York: Berghahn Books, [2014].  


Hint: It’s a book

Cut and paste these onto the wall:

One day

One week

One month

Several Months

One year, or later

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