RESEARCH – How easy is it?

The word ‘research’ can sound daunting, even when you say it out loud. The thoughts of mining through pages

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and pages of data only to forget which page the relevant information was on is exasperating. Well, welcome to Dubhaile Media’s world! Through trial and error I have found a few ways to alleviate the pain of ‘data trawling’ so I thought I would share them with you.

Plan Your Research Carefully

It’s so easy to jump straight into the quagmire of words and phrases only to get distracted by a headline or title that catches the eye. To get an initial overview of the subject of your research; go to Wikipedia and cast your eye over the salient points made there. Wikipedia can be handy as it usually provides a breakdown of the subject into simple headings and this can be useful for, either a research outline or to drill down into the core of the actual research you need to extract. Whichever you need, make sure to agree on the boundary of the research required; otherwise you will find yourself wasting time gathering data that is outside the realm of the project.

Be Keyword Savvy

Well, you have already dived straight into Wikipedia and gained a grasp of the lingo associated with your research topic so shamelessly use this lingo and get googling! At the start you may not be an expert on the subject of research but, believe me, you will no doubt be an authority on the topic once the research is complete, so, excuse the pun, keywords are key. Make a list of the specifics of the research and experiment with phrases.
Example:
Input ‘Social Media and Health Insurance’ into Google and the first four results refer to Health Care rather than Insurance. This means you may have to scroll to uncover pertinent information to your research. Experimenting with the phrasing means you can explore variation in the terms and come across hidden statistics that are totally relevant yet harder to find.

Battle through BLOGS

Okay, the topic of research may not be the most interesting but reading through countless blogs on the subject can uncover some hidden gems. Blogs are fantastic in the fact that they, on the main, will highlight the salient points of reports that have been published so, before you dive straight into a quagmire of heavy data, you can glance through these readable points and determine if the link is relevant to your needs. This is a major timesaver!

Data Capture at its Best

One of the worst things that can happen is that you are reading through your tenth report of the morning and you realise that the salient information was in the report you read on your first cup of coffee; not the fifth. You hover over the mouse to go back to the site and you realise you have inadvertently clicked on the tiny white cross in the corner and closed the page. Nightmare!

This is where bookmarking sites are a saviour. Sites such as delicious.com and Evernote allow you to bookmark information and tag it so that it is simple to reference and can be accessed in a click. I use Evernote as it has a web clipper icon that can be attached to the browser for ease of bookmarking. It is also handy to use on the phone where you can record thoughts and ideas through their audio facility whilst on the move. Whichever you use, you are sure never to lose!

The word ‘research’ does sound daunting yet it can be fun, informative and educational at the same time. If you plan, outline, experiment and capture you can be sure that the hours will fly by as you immerse yourself in a world that was previously unknown to you. Happy hunting!

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