The Art of Research


One of the main jobs I have been asked to do is research.

To find events, interesting articles, facts, stats, and even interactive quantitative research. At first I had a really hard time finding the data that was asked of me. I wasn’t sure where to look, how to search for it, or most importantly how to determine if my research was accurate. So I started asking  my co-workers about what methods have worked for them.

I also learned that there are  going to be some answers that just can’t be found, so it is up to me to come up with a creative way to locate some hint of the answer even if it is in a different form then originally expected.

I went after some research – about research  and discovered some really helpful tips such as entering basic key words or using trusted search engines such as Mintel.

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One example of how this worked out really well for me was when one of my supervisors wanted me to find out how many Instagram users used a private profile setting.

After hours of this not being a successful search and not finding any helpful data I decided I needed to get creative. I went to a website called Iconosquare, and logged onto one of our client’s profiles.

Iconosquare is a great tool for interactive and social media because you are able to view and search Instagram in a far more productive and useful way. I went through 500 different Instagram pages and made a tally to mark how many pages were private and how many were public to get some type of a stat on the ratio. It turned out it was about 50/50. My supervisor was really impressed and happy to have some type of reliable number to report back to clients and it was a successful day.

Kate Schwartz

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7 Responses to The Art of Research

  1. pdxsx says:

    Good job, Kate! Practical and immediately useful advice!

  2. Thanks for the great advice. I’m really impressed by your ability to find a solution to the problems you encountered when conducting research. If the stats aren’t available, research it yourself!

  3. I love this post! My job involves a lot of research as well, and I’ve been struggling lately with finding new ways to get information. With so much resting on research in any aspect of journalism, it’s important for us know how to get credible information. Reaching out to your coworkers is a good example of learning from the people we have access to now and who know what their doing!

  4. keegansch says:

    I haven’t encountered a need to dive deep into social media accounts, but seeing as I’ve been bouncing from corporate websites to Forest Service pages to Excel-based databases to hotel review sites, I could easily see this coming up – and now I have a new tool to use! Thanks!

    But also, yes. Coming up with ways to think (and research) outside of the box has been very important for me, too, and I’m beginning to think that this is a trend for internship positions in the communications field. Which makes sense; no matter where in communications you are, being factually accurate is essential. Good foundation for us to all start with, anyway.

  5. Kathy Kwong says:

    Great to know. As interns, we need to know how to get accurate info and fast! I do some kind of research daily and so its nice to hear of alternative and creative ways to hone in on it. Thanks for sharing, it is a valuable skill.

  6. This is awesome! I have also been asked to do a solid amount of research and the hardest part is often trying to find a reliable source especially for social media stats. I’m excited to use the tools you’ve shared with us to create stronger research audits for the company I’m interning at.

  7. pcriscola says:

    I can totally relate to this! In my internship I do a lot of research for social media and it is an intimidating task. It’s always hard to find relevant topics that are interesting to a wide range of followers while not repeating myself as I make posts daily. Thanks for sharing!

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