refer to / take into account / rely on


Senior Member
Hi, please see the following survey question and response options I've just made up.

What information sources did you refer to [or consult] in your last car purchase? Please choose all that apply.

1. Car magazines
2. TV commercials for cars
3. Friends etc.

and the list goes on...

Choosing #1 or #3 means that you accessed them (magazines/friends) to obtain information, which is understandable.
Choosing #2 only seems appropriate if you actually turned on the TV (or visited YouTube) and looked for commercials for cars. In other words, if you just happened to see a commercial for a car while watching TV, "refer to" or "consult" is inappropriate. This also applies to newspaper articles, reviews, etc. that you just happened to see.

So, I think the question should ask "What information sources did you refer to or take into account [or rely on] in your last car purchase?"

What do you think?
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Yes, you could use either "take into account" or "rely on".

    You could also ask "What information sources influenced you in..." or "...influenced your last purchase?" which would cover both active research and information that you happened to come across.


    Senior Member
    Thanks Barque. Your versions are better because they are simpler and cover both as you say. I'll use them! :)
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