You probably spent a significant amount of time doing your research. During that time, some of your information may have become outdated. This may seem hard to believe, but certain things do change very rapidly. You should make sure you check your paper for this before you proceed so that all of your information will still be current.
Effects of Sources
The types of sources you use will have an impact on the timeliness of your information. Newspapers, magazines, and sometimes Web sites are the most current sources you can use. They often are published daily, so they have the opportunity to provide the most up-to-date coverage of a topic. Look at the dates on all of the sources that you used. If you use information from a Web site, you should look for a date there that shows when the information was last updated.
Because these sources are updated so frequently, they may make compromises in the depth of coverage they provide. They also are prone to errors, because there isn't enough time to thoroughly check out a story before it is printed. Books contain the least current information, but the most in-depth.
A significant amount of time can pass between the time a book is written and the time it is printed, and then it will stay on a shelf for years afterward. Though some information in a book (such as historical facts) will never become outdated, more timely information (such as up-to-date statistics or trends) should come from a different, more current source.
Effects of Your Topic
Certain topic areas are likely to become outdated much more quickly than do others. Topics that involve the fields of science, technology, medicine, and some areas of business change rapidly. New developments and new discoveries could vastly change the facts you gathered. Be particularly cautious if your research paper discusses one of these fields. Events that have occurred since you began your research will change some facts you reported, and at their most extreme may affect your entire thesis.
Update Necessary Information
If you find that your information has become outdated, and the changes have a major impact on your paper, you should conduct more research into the areas that have changed. You may not be able to do this, though, if the new research will take a significant amount of time. There might not be enough time left to go through this process again. If your topic is one that changes that rapidly, you could find yourself continually trying to catch up to the latest changes. For example, a paper that includes information about casualties in Iraq would be hard to keep current.
Consider a Disclaimer
If necessary, you may use a disclaimer, which confirms that all of the facts were current as of the date you collected them. You can do this if you don't have the time to carry out more research to update your facts. You also can use a disclaimer if the facts are in such a continuous state of change that you know you can never keep up with them. Don't use a disclaimer to mask the fact that you just didn't want to bother finding more current information.