Researching different industries

There are many common elements you can use to simplify your research and make it more efficient. The best way to approach researching industries is to structure your research so you get consistently useful information, and set a reliable quality standard.

You need:

  • Industry overview sources. This is the 'You are here' stage of your research, and orientation is required to learn the environment of the industry and the issues.
  • A lexicon of terms and jargon. This is essential. All industries generate their own language, and you can expect to be hit with unfamiliar terminology. If you don't have this source, you may not be able to hold a meaningful conversation about the industry.
  • Professional sources with good introduction level materials. Some pro sources recognize the need for good intro level information, and these sources are often invaluable.
  • Market research sources. All industries relate to some market, and these sources are good for identifying industry issues and top companies.
  • Industry technology sources. Technology is part of any industry, and in many cases it's a driving force. Technological matters are also often big industry issues.
  • News sources. You will need to acquire current information, as well as the broad brush perspective. Locate special coverage in industry news sources and websites. You'll also find you can get direct firsthand information from the industry news subjects themselves.

Using and developing your research methods

With this knowledge base, you can now get access to the information you need. If you're researching several industries, you need to set out a good, easy to use program of research.

Note: Make sure you're structuring your information, giving yourself a clear set of results based on what you need for choosing a career. The risk in both cases is getting too much data and not enough solid information for your purpose.

Working with your research

Clarity and use of information are the key issues in good research.

Create a template of what you need for your research. This excludes extraneous information, and stays on track with the objects of your research. It also reduces time wasted.

Use quality control to make the information usable. You can find yourself stuck with a difficult fit between information and possible uses for it. This also has the advantage of keeping your research organized from the start.

Refine your information into its best form. More information isn't necessarily better. Work on getting your research data into a clear, easily understood form, using the best sources.

Research is always useful, and in career terms, it's essential. Professionals are usually regular researchers.