Research notes 2013


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A compilation of tips for web searching

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Research notes 2013

  1. 1. R esearchNOTES _______________________________________________________________________ Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 Marcy Phelps
  2. 2. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 ResearchNOTES is a monthly email bulletin with tips for web searching. Enjoy this collection from 2013! Author: Marcy Phelps Marcy Phelps is the founder and principal of Phelps Research, where she provides insights for better business decisions. Marcy frequently speaks and writes about topics related to business research, and she is the author of the highly-acclaimed book, Research on Main Street: Using the Web to Find Local Business and Market Information. Follow her on Twitter @marcyphelps!
  3. 3. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 Table of Contents January 2013: It's OK to pay ..................................................................................................1 February 2013: Tools for capturing information flow .............................................................2 March 2013: My new favorite sources for business information ............................................3 April 2013: Happy Earth Day ..................................................................................................4 May 2013: Google Reader alternatives ...................................................................................5 June 2013: Never stop learning ..............................................................................................6 July 2013: Ready-to-use information graphics.......................................................................7 August / September 2013: Become a power networker.........................................................8 October 2013: Boost your career - with information ..............................................................9 November 2013: My favorite tools for productivity ..............................................................10 December 2013: End-of-year charitable giving ....................................................................11
  4. 4. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 January 2013: It's OK to pay I often talk about using free resources for business research, but free doesn't always mean costeffective. Time is money, so don't spend hours searching for something that can be quickly found in a low-cost report. This month in ResearchNOTES, I share some of my favorite fee-based sources that won't break the budget: Moody’s Analytics provides economic, financial, country, and industry research used for strategic planning and other business applications. I especially like their extensive collection of reports with hardto-find local-level data and analysis. I love maps, and ESRI offers geographic information system (GIS) software and services and locationbased data. Through their Business Analyst product, you can obtain U.S. business data and learn about demographics, consumer spending, market potential, and traffic counts. A database of articles from thousands of U.S. newspapers, is searchable by keywords and phrases, region, state, or a specific newspaper. Searching is free, and you can purchase individual articles. A monthly subscription allows you to view, print, and save up to 25 articles per month. 1|Page
  5. 5. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 February 2013: Tools for capturing information flow In recent issues of ResearchNOTES, I've shared some of my favorite tips for using LinkedIn and Twitter for learning. This month, I'll spotlight another way to stay informed - subject feeds, collections of news on a particular topic. Subject feeds make it easy to capture information flow - and expand your horizons: RSS is definitely not dead - at least for me. I've set up news feeds from reliable sources in a variety of topics of interest to me and my clients. I like to find new RSS feeds by browsing the directory at Futurity covers the latest discoveries by scientists at the top research universities in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia. Even though I'm a business researcher by trade and not a scientist, I find these reports fascinating, and they keep me informed of important industry trends. When it comes to keeping track of what's going on in the U.S. government, I rely on feeds and alerts from Scout. They offer updates - through RSS, email, and text - about what Congress is doing around an issue or a specific bill, as well as about bills in state legislatures and federal regulations. 2|Page
  6. 6. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 March 2013: My new favorite sources for business information For the upcoming Searchers Academy in Washington DC, I've just updated my Best Business Sources presentation. Since it's really difficult to select the best business sources, I usually include some of my old favorites (like FRED), along with several "new" favorites. This month in ResearchNOTES, I'll share some of my new favorite sources for business information that I'll be covering in my talk: From consumer research firm Nielsen, Newswire offers a collection of press releases about the company's large-scale surveys and reports on media trends. These always include useful - and free market data and insights. I find it easiest to drill down to what I need by clicking the All icon in the top right corner of the page. You can then browse the press releases by date and category, or search by keyword. Reports from industry analysts used to be available only to those with big research budgets. However, more and more analysts are taking to the social web to share their insights. For example, Deloitte Insights for CIOs provides lots of valuable information relevant to all types of business professionals, covering topics such as security and privacy, mobile and wireless, big data, analytics, and more. I especially like their Industry Outlook reports, with industry leaders discussing top trends, issues, and challenges. For information about mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, venture capital, and other investment-related information, try The New York Times' DealBook. Also check out Deals. They cover the same topics, and - as an added feature - they organize their articles by industry and region. 3|Page
  7. 7. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 April 2013: Happy Earth Day More than 40 years ago, the first Earth Day celebration helped raise our awareness of environmental issues and concerns. In honor of Earth Day, this issue of ResearchNOTES offers some key resources for finding answers to your questions about the earth and the environment: Updated daily, Environmental News Network pulls together current news articles on such topics as wildlife, agriculture, ecosystems, energy, business, and much more. To stay up to date, you can set up RSS feeds, subscribe to email alerts, or follow ENN on Twitter. EcoEarth.Info provides news, blogs, and a customized search engine for reviewed, authoritative information on environmental sustainability. You'll also find a section with an extensive collection of links to additional resources. Visit Earthweek - A Diary of a Planet for breaking news on all facets of Earth's natural history, including climate change, the environment, nature and wildlife, health, and other topics. The site contains sections with past issues of their weekly publication - in mapped or PDF formats. For news, opinion, best practices, and other resources on the greening of mainstream business, go to Be sure to check out two new reports for recent trends in corporate sustainability: State of Green Business 2013 and State of the Profession 2013. Share this! 4|Page
  8. 8. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 May 2013: Google Reader alternatives Many people are looking for an alternative to Google Reader, which will be discontinued on July 1st. As someone who 1) manages feeds on a variety of topics of interest to me and my clients and 2) has never used Google Reader for finding and managing my RSS feeds, I offer my favorite Google Reader replacements: Use a browser add-on - I like opening a browser and seeing my Sage feeds displayed in a pane on the left side of the window. I'm much more likely to stay up-to-date when everything is just a click away. Download an app - On my iPad, I use Flipboard. I love how it helps me discover new content and the nice magazine format. Create some pipes - OK, I admit that I'm geek-inclined, so I enjoy the programming and visualization aspects of Yahoo! Pipes. But, be sure to watch the How to Build a Pipe in Just Minutes video, because as they say on the website - "Pipes only sound hard." Try Twitter- Consider bypassing RSS completely and using dashboards, lists, and other tools for trapping and organizing valuable Twitter content. I use HootSuite on my laptop, phone, and iPad and find it's a great way to manage multiple feeds. Let's connect: 5|Page
  9. 9. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 June 2013: Never stop learning One thing we can all agree on is that the world is changing, and it's changing faster each day. Unless we keep learning, we risk becoming irrelevant - and it's not our employers' responsibility to make sure we have the knowledge and skills we need to succeed today and in the future. The good news is that learning is no longer limited to the classroom, so this issue of ResearchNOTES highlights a few key tools for using the web for professional development: One of the best directories I've found for free online learning opportunities is Open Culture. Look for audio books, certificate courses, videos, and much more. They also offer free online movies - and I love the Hitchcock collection! Thinking about enrolling in a MOOC? Discover online courses at CourseTalk, which includes ratings and reviews for upcoming sessions. The MOOCs cover a broad range of topics, including entrepreneurship, computer science, psychology, writing, and much more. There's nothing like a good book for learning something new. Goodreads, a social network for readers, is a great place to find book recommendations, view other members' reading lists, and keep track of your own lists. Share this! 6|Page
  10. 10. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 July 2013: Ready-to-use information graphics Displaying data in a visual format adds impact and brings clarity where words and spreadsheets often fail. Charts, graphs, and maps make it easy to identify patterns, trends, and clusters and transform the numbers into insights. Rather than create my own graphics for my research reports, I often save time by heading to sources that do the work for me. In this issue of ResearchNOTES, I share a few of my favorite sites for data in ready-to-use visual formats: Eurostat provides options for customizing and downloading European economic, demographic, and other data in graphs and maps. After selecting a data set, follow links at the top of the page for non-tabular formats. The Data section of The World Bank's website contains global statistics in map and graph formats. The By Country and Indicators sections include the most options for and the easiest route to visual formats. American FactFinder offers mapped U.S. demographic data from the Decennial Census, American Community Survey, and other Census Bureau products. From the Table Results page, click the Create a Map button. And keep an eye on The Data Visualization Gallery from the U.S. Census Bureau. Part of an effort to increase the use of visualization and making Census data available to the public, this site will eventually expand their coverage. You can find more sources of ready-to-use information graphics at Do you have any to add to the list? 7|Page
  11. 11. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 August / September 2013: Become a power networker I recently had the pleasure of speaking to the BMA Colorado Young Professionals group about Power Networking - Even if You're an Introvert. My overarching message was to start networking early in your career, and never stop. But many of us don't know where to start, so this month's ResearchNOTES includes my top recommended readings to help ease the pain of business networking: Written in 1999 by best-selling author Harvey MacKay, Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You'll Ever Need offers valuable insights into the true meaning of networking. Also look for time-tested tips for building the kinds of relationships that will form the basis of your network. The Fine Art of Small Talk: How To Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills -- and Leave a Positive Impression!, by Debra Fine, covers how to strike up and maintain a conversation in any situation. Packed with useful tips, the list of "Fail-Safe Questions for Every Business Function" is worth the price of the book alone. For introverts, business networking can be both frightening and draining. In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, author Susan Cain talks about appreciating what introverts have to offer and surviving in an extrovert-loving world. I love her advice about pretending to be more extroverted in certain circumstances - including business networking. Subscribe to ResearchNOTES 8|Page
  12. 12. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 October 2013: Boost your career - with information Gone are the days when your entire career amounted to working for one company before retiring with your gold watch. Today, if you're employed by someone else, you're always on the look-out for your next job. In this month's ResearchNOTES you'll find a few good sites to help with keeping up to date on your career options: O*NET OnLine povides information on more than 900 careers, including skills, work activities, education, job outlook and salaries. Also, streamlined interactive sites for accessing the O*NET database can be found at My Next Move and My Next Move for Veterans. From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Occupational and Employment Statistics program produces annual employment and wage estimates for more than 800 occupations. Look for national and local estimates of average hourly and annual wages, hiring industries, and geographic profiles. Professional researchers will appreciate the time-saving chart and mapping tools for use in client reports. Get an inside look at the best - and worst - companies to work for from those who have been there, done that at Employees, job seekers, and the companies themselves contribute anonymous salary information, company reviews, interview questions, and more. I especially like the "Company Salaries by Occupation" feature. 9|Page
  13. 13. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 November 2013: My favorite tools for productivity With such busy business and personal lives, it's essential to have a few tools that save time and give us a bit of a break. In this edition of ResearchNOTES, I'll highlight a few productivity tools that I can't do without: Those who know me know that I'm a big fan of GTD - or Getting Things Done. Developed by David Allen, GTD is a system for "stress-free productivity" in work and life. It's a way of dealing with physical clutter and the clutter in our brains. This frees up bandwidth for more focused, creative thinking, which results in a lot less stress! One caveat - You don't just start "doing" GTD. It takes a while to find what works for you and how to incorporate the system into your workflow. Evernote is a software product for collecting, saving, and finding all those pieces of information related to work and family projects. That's where I keep conference notes, ideas for upcoming articles and presentations, travel documents, Christmas lists, and more. Since Evernote syncs with my phone, tablet, and computer, everything is right where I need it. Free and fee versions are available. I'm working more and more with visual information, and SnagIt, screen-capture software from TechSmith, helps me crop images, create professional-looking presentation slides, and snag important screens from webinars. At $49.95 USD, it’s more than paid for itself in my time. What are your favorite productivity tools? Let me know by email, and I'll share with ResearchNOTES readers. 10 | P a g e
  14. 14. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 December 2013: End-of-year charitable giving We're accustomed to turning to the Internet for all our holiday needs, from shopping to sending season's greetings. This year, think about going online to take care of another holiday tradition - those end-of-year charitable contributions. To help you identify and learn more about U.S. nonprofits in need or make an online donation, ResearchNOTES highlights some handy tools for sharing the holiday spirit: Consider Charity Navigator a donor's handbook. In addition to information about specific nonprofits, look for their holiday giving guide, tips for donors, and other resources. Guidestar is an extensive database of nonprofit organizations. It includes 990s, the IRS reporting form required for nonprofits with more than $25,000 per year in receipts, which disclose detailed financial information. Finally, a good alternative to the end-of-year rush is to adopt a year-round approach. This recent Denver Post article offers some great suggestions for planning and budgeting for your charitable giving. Happy Holidays, and thanks for reading ResearchNOTES. I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014! 11 | P a g e
  15. 15. Top Tips for Web Searching: 2013 Subscribe to ResearchNOTES, a monthly email bulletin with tips and sites for web searching. Marcy blogs about driving business success through knowledge at Marcy Phelps can be reached at +1 303.239.0657 Connect with Marcy: 12 | P a g e