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Researching – how to behave

Two years ago, I wrote a post on research, setting out five steps to getting a best result. During the past two weeks, I’ve been following that same methodology to assess service suppliers and have narrowed my search to two possibilities.

I googled then sifted the results, gathered reports, opinions, financial data  (from the sycophantic to the ranting) and filed the source URLs of the most valuable. (Note to self and others: never, ever fail to copy the URL to somewhere safe. You will forget the site name and you won’t be able to find it again. And you’ll kick yourself raw.  Emailing it you yourself is pretty solid.)

But then you have to get down to the dirty stuff.

I used the net to dig out clients of the two suppliers and then wrote to them in confidence. If you do this, you have to keep that promise. Whatever the temptation. You cannot blat out what you have been told all over the web. Well, you could, but you mustn’t.

Why? Because one day, when you have become the Great Wise One, somebody might do it to you.

4 comments to Researching – how to behave

  • It would never have occurred to me to keep a record of the URL. Confession – I only learnt what a URL was earlier this year when I had a website myself.

    Thank you for that – it could well be something that I need to know in the future.

    Liz X

    • Alison

      I lost one crucial reference when I was doing my MA. Found it by chance two months later. I nearly fell on my keyboard and wept with relief.

      Lesson learned.

  • How right you are. A methodical approach to research – keeping notes in categories or alphabetical order, with details of URLs or other retrieval data, is tedious and looks obsessional. But it can save hours and hours of angst.

  • Alison

    Indeed so! And if you get somebody to give you confidential or other information not available publicly, then you should write it down as soon afterwards as possible and keep it safe with a note of the time and date.

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