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Today’s information age has created a common misconception about research: you can find anything you want easily because information is everywhere.
The problem, however, is that ever-present information can actually make it more challenging to find what you’re seeking. Do you start wide and narrow your search as you conduct it? Do you start smaller – with strong, limiting parameters – and hope it leads you to fuller details? There is really no right answer; both types of searches can be productive. The trick is to leverage tactics and solutions that get you to real results, no matter how you begin the search process.
The number of online searches increases by the minute. And how we’re setting up our searches is also changing. According to a study on search queries in 2017, nearly 40 percent of search queries were only one word. And, search terms with six words or more plummets to less than 3 percent. What does this mean? Are we so focused on that one word to get us to the information we need? Or, do we really not know where to begin so we cast a wide net, hoping that the search itself will start to parse out results we can use?
For many researchers, they take this responsibility upon themselves to invest the time in finding the information and insights they need for their work. Regardless if you’re a consultant, journalist, or in the financial or healthcare communities, research is probably taking up a fair amount of your time. How do you become as efficient as possible? There are many free online tools for search commands and tricks that help to weed out unrelated results and get you more quickly to where you want to be. But is that enough? Are you still just scratching the surface of effective searching?
Research that gives you real results provides both depth and breadth so that you can share not only insights, but also context. Consider these strategies for more effective research:
No matter if you’re researching news, people, companies, countries or trends, setting up custom searches helps you streamline the research process without sacrificing quality. There are solutions available that will allow you to set up searches based on specific terms and that analyze and tag online documents for relevant subjects, industries, companies, organizations, people, and places.
An approach like this will make it easier for you to find results that truly match your search terms by weeding out passing references or false hits, so you get only the most relevant results.
Another strategy for making the best use of your time is to set up alerts for breaking news, updates, and local or global mentions of the people, topics, industries and places that matter most to you. There are solutions that establish alerts related to a particular topic and that provide updates to you online or via email. They’re typically very easy to set up— most solutions allow you to request alerts after running a search. You can often receive automatic updates on a monthly, weekly, daily or hourly schedule.
Did you know that with Nexis you can set up alerts with your precise searches? Learn more here.
Today’s best-in-class global research solutions often offer apps or mobile functionality so that you can search no matter where you are and receive updates in the palm of your hand.
This way, you’re never far from conducting a search on a topic you need to understand. According to Google stats compiled recently by Search Engine Land, mobile searches now outpace desktop searching. Today, nearly 60 percent of searches, in a variety of industries from healthcare and finance to food and beverage, are conducted on mobile devices. What does this mean for you? It means you need to consider your device an extension of your research toolbox and ensure you’re set up to search on-the-go.
No matter how you start your search, you can get to where you need to be. By employing best-in-class practices, you’ll find the information you need faster and with more confidence.
Ready to learn even more? Check out these solutions and resources on research.
Check out these solutions and resources developed specifically for consultants: