Research Strategies - Where to Start?

So you have a new piece of research to do.  It could be a competitive analysis of your industry.  Maybe it’s due diligence for an acquisition.  Or maybe it’s background research for a sales meeting your boss has coming up.  Where do you start?  If you’re like most people (myself included, sometimes), your natural inclination is to fire up Google (or maybe Bing or Yahoo).  Contrary to popular opinion, that’s probably not the ideal place to start.

Why?  First, it’s too easy to end up with irrelevant or only marginally helpful results, especially if you don’t have a set of well-targeted search terms in mind.  Second, it can be very time-consuming to go through search results, and that may impede your progress.  Finally, you never really know when you’re done.  There’s always the temptation to keep searching for that last little nugget of information, and once you do stop, there’s always the nagging worry that you missed something. Continue reading Research Strategies 1: Where to Start?