As connected people we have to learn a lot of stuff, from metal hut fabrication to urology to the biases of the Japanese university system, and that means a lot of research. Innate curiosity helps with research, but research time costs money, and we're in the business of learning stuff fast.
Whatever you're working on the seventh draft of your Master's thesis, trying to find the perfect house three time zones to the left, or comparison shopping for the most reliable plumber, finding the right information fast is what we do. Everyday!
Here's how to cut research time down to size.
1. Google the heck out of it. Do not just use primary keywords, conduct searches using secondary keywords and keywords search engine users enter into query boxes.
2. Use industry specific search engines. We all know Google, Yahoo and Bing but there are more than 4,000 search engines crawling the web. To find the latest on “smart doors” use a construction industry search engine.
3. Use local search for local businesses. If you want service providers within 25 miles, enter your search term and the zip (postal) code where you're located. You'll see the competition, local news, local attractions, and features of Westport 06880.
4. Skip the academic treatises , white papers and in-depth analyzes. Someone has already read them and synthesized key content into a 1,000-word piece. Find the breakdown piece and save time.
5. Use forums. There's a forum for everything. Need to know the latest on Caribbean vacations? There's a forum for that. Forums are sources for quick information and highly-specific info. Post a question and get a few dozen answers in a few hours. And the FAQ sections are up-to-date with the most current topics.
6. Read. Learn the language of the trade or industry so you use it in your search. Every industry has insider jargon. Reading a lot of short articles also provides a list of what insiders are talking about. Join a LinkedIn group associated with your research topic and get up-to-the-minute information on what's happening.
7. Trust no one. Anyone can say anything on the Internet. Certain sites are more credible than others. The federal government's Small Business Administration website is a better source for official information than “Fast Eddie's Small Business Loan” website.
Use trustworthy websites for research, and try to find a back-up resource to support your findings before telling the neighbors that beef jerky is actually health food.
Hey, you know it's on the Internet somewhere!