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BUSA 1100W: Fundamentals of Management

Information Advantage at Vanderbilt

Research 101

As you begin your research, ask yourself:

  • What do you already know?
  • What you NEED to know?
  • Do you need to identify companies?
  • Do you need to understand an industry?
  • Do you need background on a product or service? 

Think about "who cares" enough to compile, analyze and publish data on a particular business topic. Library databases contain peer reviewed contents, analyst reports and other vetted information. In addition, consider sources such as :

  • Government agencies at the Federal, State and Local levels
  • Trade associations
  • Consulting firms
  • Locally based media

Vetting Your Sources

While searching the internet SEEMS quick and easy, the quality of your research is related to the quality of the sources you use: "garbage in, garbage out." Applying the C.R.A.P. test is one way to evaluate the quality and value of a data or information source. Ask yourself these questions to determine if you should utilize a resource:

  • Currency - Is the information current? Is it updated regularly?
  • Reliability - Is the source reputable? Is it accurate?
  • Authority - Who created the information? Why?
  • Purpose/Point of View - Is there a balance of perspectives? Is the information biased?

Please see this additional information about the CRAP test as well as the Vanderbilt University presentation What The Crap?