When Looking For Research Are You Too Smart For Your Search Engine?

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Most people use search engines every day to find everything from movie times to the latest news on particle physics. Despite this frequent usage, professionals looking for research reports in a database of market research sometimes fall victim to their own in-depth knowledge of their particular field. This can make the discovery process a challenging one. So, here is a quick guide on what to do and what not to do when looking for research in a market research database.

1. Try to keep your searches to a few key words

The more words you add to your search criteria the more chances you will give the search engine to misunderstand what you are looking for. Pick the words that are the most unique to your search first and, then, if you don’t get results, use more and more general terms. So, if you are looking for research on the market for mesenchymal stem cell use in regenerative medical applications, I would start with the search: mesenchymal AND regenerative. If that does not work, move to stem cell AND regenerative. Finally, try stem cell AND applications.

2. Be prepared to step outside the terms you commonly use. 

Using industry jargon is an everyday part of life in any business. However, when doing searches it is important to keep in mind that this jargon can vary greatly even within the same field. Ironically, the more you know about your industry, the stronger this trap can become. So, if you are searching for oncology pharmaceuticals, be prepared to also search for cancer drugs instead.

3. Be creative in your search methodology. 

As with jargon, it is easy to get stuck in a rut when trying to find information you need.  Sometimes the information is there, but you have to step outside the confines of what information you think you need and look at what question you are trying to answer. I had a client once that was looking for the cost of supplies for research laboratories. We did not have a relevant report available at the time, so I asked why they needed that particular information. I was told that they made a special type of test tube and wanted to use that information for market sizing. Two minutes later, we were looking at a test tube market report that fit their information need perfectly. The initial information need was not “wrong;" there was just another way to see the same issue that yielded completely different results.

In the end, if you keep your searches and terminology simple while keeping focused on the questions you want to answer, your search results should be much more fruitful.

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Thanks for reading!

Rob Kaminsky

Rob Kaminsky,
Research Specialist

Topics: SEO Market Research Strategy