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COMM 657: Media Planning & Management (Dr. Hsin-Yen Yang)

This guide will help you with conducting research for your media planning assignment.

Strategies for reading

Don’t be afraid to jump around: Scholarly articles don't have to be read like a book, paragraph by paragraph, line by line. It's ok to skim and scan! 

Read the abstract first: Previews the entire article, makes it easier to judge whether it is relevant.

Next, read the introduction and conclusion: Learn more about the topic of study and what the authors found out in the process.

Take a look at the tables, charts and graphs: Get a better idea of the results of the research or analytical study. 

Mark it up: Engage with your source! Take notes, highlight important sections. Look for what is missing as well as what is there. 

Find the source: Consult the introduction and references for other potential sources to follow up on. 

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Evaluating Web Resources

When you search for information, you're going to find plenty... but is it accurate and reliable? You will have to determine this for yourself, and The CRAAP Test  (from the University of Rhode Island, Merriam Library) can help.  It is a list of questions to help determine if the information you find is good quality. Your information source may not meet every criterion on this list; different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. So why guess? Is your source giving you truly credible and useful information, or just a lot of...?!

When you search for information, you're going to find plenty... but is it accurate and reliable? You will have to determine this for yourself, and the CRAAP Test can help. The CRAAP Test is a list of questions to help determine if the information you find is good quality. Your information source may not meet every criterion on this list; different criteria will be more or less important depending on your situation or need. So why guess? Is your source giving you truly credible and useful information, or just a lot of...?!


Currency: The timeliness of the information.
  • When was the information published or posted?
  • Has the information been revised or updated?
  • Is the information current or too out-of-date for my topic?
  • Are all the links functional or are there dead links?*
Relevance: The importance of the information for your needs.
  • Does the information relate to my topic or answer my question?
  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information at an appropriate level (i.e. not too simple or advanced) for my needs?
  • Did I look at a variety of sources before deciding to use this one?
  • Would I be comfortable using this source for my college research paper?
Authority: The source of the information.
  • Who is the author/publisher/source/sponsor?
  • Are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations given?
  • What are the author's credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • What are the author's qualifications to write on the topic?
  • Is there contact information, such as a publisher or e-mail address?
  • Does the URL reveal anything about the author or source? Examples: .com .edu .gov .org .net*
Accuracy: The reliability, truthfulness, and correctness of the information.
  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information been reviewed by anyone else?
  • Can I verify any of the information in another source or from personal knowledge?
  • Does the language or tone seem biased? Or is it free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, typographical, or other errors?
Purpose: The reason the information exists.
  • What is the purpose of the information? to inform? teach? sell? entertain? persuade?
  • Do the authors/sponsors make their intentions or purpose clear?
  • Is the information fact? opinion? propaganda?
  • Does the point of view appear objective and impartial?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?
*criteria specifically for evaluating Web site information

adapted from:

Evaluating information – Applying the CRAAP test, 10/24/2007. Reference & Instruction, Meriam Library ReSEARCH Station, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico, CA. 17 Mar 2008. <http://www.csuchico.edu/lins/handouts/evalsites.html>

Prepared for University Library lobby display, Evaluating information from the World Wide Web, March 2008.