What is a good strategy when researching a topic?

Research isn’t all that tough. But it is time consuming and the information deluge on the web doesn’t make it any easier.

I found this question on Quora: What is a good strategy when researching a topic? And thought it’s a nice segway into how to research.

What do you think?

Answer by Edwin Tam:

I find that there’s general and specific research.

In your case, you seem to be looking for specific information: e.g. did this invention exist? How do I know if my giga-watt-powered Oatmealy gadget can actually grind Oatmeal?

General Research

I usually do the following:

  1. Identify research dimensions: Environment, Competitors, Technology, Own
  2. Write a list of questions for each dimension
  3. Hit up the library/Google/Academic papers/forums to get answers quickly. This helps me winnow out unanswerable questions, specify questions, and develop other questions from the earlier list
  4. Repeat 3 until happy. But now, I look for stats, data, and if necessary, conduct some primary research (e.g. surveys etc).  I’d usually give myself 3 days to do the research. Otherwise, screensuck!
  5. Review info. Develop insights and answers to your (now modified) Questions List.

Quora Question: What is a good strategy when researching a topic?

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