Confessions of a Research-a-holic

17th Sep, 2013

| by writesolutions

I waded through the World Wide Web in search of information and in the process, found myself
Initially I was a little apprehensive, always wondering if I will be able to do justice to my work. I’ve always imagined that research is something you do on the side. But once I got started and discovered all sort of clever ways, one can add depth, value and meaning to a piece of writing, I started feeling a little overwhelmed by the huge task that lay ahead of me!

All these years, working with Write Solutions has provided me with access to a wealth of knowledge and expertise. This is how I got introduced to the field of market research. Finding interesting and complex connections between equally complex ideas is what continues to intrigue and engage me in my role.

Whatever be the project – a book, a business plan, even an advertising copy — you need data to contextualize your story; frame your ideas; consumer anecdotes to validate your point; and other intangibles to make your story convincing and empirically-sound.

All this and more of course, doesn’t just happen by change. If it does happen, it happens only by design. The stories, statistics, anecdotes have to be pried out from a glut of information; their sources verified, and attributed in the copy and referenced in the footnote; finally the information nuggets itself dusted and polished (paraphrased) before it can be used in our business reports. Since facts are sacred, everything has to be checked, cross-checked and carefully attributed to the source.

I hunt my information down like a blood hound; driven by the smell of the blood in the vast jungle of information. It doesn’t come easy; it’s not altogether impossible, either.
Earlier, it appeared like a lot of work! But once I’d grown my canine, I knew where to cut bits of information.

On my life’s journey as a researcher, I’ve followed a hidden passion and charted a new territory – a chance discovery! While crawling the net to gather information on a variety of disparate subjects, I’ve discovered who I am, the world around me, and, yes, at times, even the meaning of life.

This has driven me beyond the boundaries of received tradition, market fundas, research logic or careful schooling. Over the years, I’ve managed to cobble together my own specialized tool kit; while sharpening my intellectual skills on the problem at hand.

In a manner, we are all born researchers. We research for our kids, our family, our daily shopping deals and so many other things that make us curious and gets us thinking. Google has become our Bible. The only difference between others and me is that I have now carved a living out of it.

For those who are still curious, here’s how I did it …

I don’t follow rules. I prefer principles. Here are some of mine:

Principle #1: I agree that raising questions, thinking big thoughts, and carefully considering language and art form are all important and relevant discourses and must be carefully examined, not ridiculed and callously brushed aside.

Principle #2: Not everything worthwhile can be counted and not everything that can be counted is worthwhile, but that sometimes counting things is just the right thing to do!

Principle #3: In order to be a good researcher, you don’t just need enough good material; you also need to know where you haven’t looked – rather like a careful cost-benefit analysis.

Principle #4: Archive your data. By now I’ve turned anti-library. Google as a search engine is still very primitive. You are dammed if you haven’t researched thoroughly. Therefore, keep looking.

Principle #5: What appears like a labyrinth of information is often plain noise. Cut it out. Sift, sort and eliminate it. Indeed, cut it to the bone, and keep only the most relevant, meaning nuggets.

Research #6: Research does allow you to pursue your interests, to learn something new, to hone your problem-solving skills and to challenge yourself in newer ways.

We look forward to working with you. I have come to determine that the motto of my research project is: Breathe. Reread the material. Rework the ideas.

writesolutions

Radhika Sachdev

Content Strategist

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