DIY CI Research Tips (part 1 of 3)Posted: June 3, 2015
June 3, 2015
Well, now that you’ve decided to do CI yourself, how do you do it? What I present here are tips based not only on how I do research, but how others also conduct effective research.
I will start by covering how to start, dealing with time, and doing the hands-on research.
First, write out an outline. Actually, you should be writing questions. Put down the first question, the big question that you want/have to answer. Then, break out the three or four specific questions that have to be answered so that you can do the analysis and draw the conclusions for the big question. If any one of those secondary questions is complex, break it down again.
Now you have an outline of your research. As a matter fact, a good trick is to save this and later write-up your report, whether you’re giving it to someone else or just retaining it for your future reference, by answering each question, using it as a working heading. Then, simply turn the questions into statements and use them as the real headings in a longer, final report.
When framing these questions, think in terms of action. That is, what decision will you make or what action will you be able to take as a result of your findings. If you cannot focus on a decision or action, ask yourself why you’re spending the time and other resources to dig this out data.
While “good to know” or “just getting some background”, is not always a waste of time, you will eventually learn that in many, perhaps most, cases it is exactly that. If you need to do background research, do background research. But that background research should have as its focus supporting a decision, or at least the framing of a decision to be made, and eventually the taking of or avoiding action.
In the next blog, I will deal with time and timing.