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For many students, the most challenging part about writing a research paper is the research. Even the best students often don’t know how to conduct research or even where to start.

But you’re in luck:

This article by Custom-writing.org experts provides a list of great research tools that will be useful at every stage of the process. The collection includes everything necessary to write a great paper, from online public libraries to dissertation databases. There are also some data analysis and data visualization research tools, as well as organizers for scholars. The list includes brief descriptions for each of the tools. All you need is to continue reading, choose the tools you like most, and get a fantastic result!

research steps

1.  Doing Research: Key Steps

Regardless of the subject field, all research has a similar structure. Such an approach facilitates the mutual understanding of scientists from neighboring or even distant domains. As a rule, scientific texts are challenging to write and read. That is why you need to observe the following procedure.

  1. Topic selection. Surprisingly, this is the most creative part of a research project. The subject area shall be topical and relevant, and the title must be concise and informative.
  2. Literature review and concept development. To write something new, you need to know what has already been written by other scientists. Study the available literature on your subject and define what statement or concept you will defend in your research.
  3. Empirical part: data collection and analysis. Accumulate the evidence to support your thesis statement.
  4. Conclusions and recommendations. Any research finishes with generalizations of the findings. You can as well give general suggestions for your successors in research.

The following sections provide you with tools and techniques to facilitate each of the four stages. There is also a list of tools helping to organize the entire research procedure.

2.  Topic Generating Tools

In science and academia, nobody receives a ready-made topic to work on. As a rule, you are given a direction in which you should look for an unexplored field of knowledge. With this direction in mind, you can brainstorm a compelling topic that would be engaging. There are multiple tools to make the task an easy one.

1 Lucidchart Lucidchart is an excellent instrument based on infographics. The diagrams in this software help to understand people’s behavior, data, and processes. The visualization allows to find out the interdependence between different phenomena. If you have a large bulk of information to process before generating a topic, this should be your choice.
2 Mind42 Mind42 is a free (ad-supported) mind mapping tool. Structure your notes here for further reference. It works as a block diagram, where units of information are connected with arrows. It is user-friendly, so you will not waste much time on preparations.
3 Visual Thesaurus This one is more about the formulation. If you have come up with a topic, but struggle with its wording, visualize it with the tool. The tool gives you a list of word associations and their relationships. By the way, the service is excellent for theoretical research as it builds word maps, provides their meanings, and suggests related terms.

3.  Research Tools for Making a Literature Review

3.1. Research Databases

So, you have created a word document and noted the title. What next? You should look for the most authoritative works in the required sphere. How do you know which ones are the most influential? There are online research tools that create lists of the most cited scientific articles.

1 Google Scholar The same company that produced the world’s top search engine also offers the world’s top scholarly search engine. Google Scholar works just like Google. But it directly links you to only publications in countless academic journals. When using the system, look at the right-hand side of the search results. There, Google Scholar shows you if a PDF is available for each article.
2 Web of Knowledge Many academic research services charge a fee. But Web of Knowledge is the most widely used. And this is for a good reason: it provides search features missing from Google Scholar. Check to see if your library offers access to the Web of Knowledge.
3 LexisNexis This is the research resource of choice for law school students and lawyers. Of course, this is an expensive service for individuals. But your school may have free access.
4 Scopus Scopus is a bibliographical base used by over five thousand academic, governmental, and corporate establishments. It searches through about 75 million entries, including 194’000 books. You can search by author, document title, or affiliation. It shows the citation rate of almost any article from any discipline. The tool also suggests similar documents by related references, which could accelerate your research.
5 Web of Science WoS is a multidisciplinary citation database trusted by more than 9 thousand institutions. It allows for the historical tracking of research questions in all spheres of knowledge. 9.1 billion cited references would suffice for the most exigent researcher. Web of Science can be used as a resource to find trusted materials in the public domain.

3.2. Digital Libraries

Once you have found enough references, you need to study them. Visiting conventional libraries is often a waste of time since many contemporary research documents are accessible on the web. Digital libraries are usually paid web research tools, but many universities and colleges purchase a subscription for their students.

1 Google Books Google Books was launched in 2004. Today, it offers full-text searches of over 25 million books. That’s a lot of reading!
2 The US Library of Congress As a leading research library, the Library of Congress has an incredible number of online resources. Their website lets you search for nearly every book ever written. You can also skim their vast online collections.
3 Project Gutenberg The goal of Project Gutenberg sounds crazy. They aim to digitize every book that is not under copyright. In brief, they offer almost every classic book published before 1900.
4 JSTOR This database searches for books, primary sources, and journals. It provides free access to open community collections of museums, public libraries, and archives. The resource has a special offer due to COVID-19 displacement of students, offering free use of unlicensed materials. Still, only the participating educational institutions are eligible. You can share your lists with other users if you wish.
5 ScienceDirect ScienceDirect focuses on medical, technical, engineering, and scientific research, but humanities are also covered. It provides access to foundational and theoretic materials and the latest findings. You can search by keywords, author, title of book or journal, volume, issue, and page. All the literature is peer-reviewed and can be trusted.
6 ResearchGate ResearchGate provides more than 135 million publication pages. The tool is an excellent solution to keep up with the latest research news. It allows sharing your research with peers, collaborating with them across the continents, and asking for expert support. You can as well track how many people have read or referenced your work.
7 Wiley Online Library Here you can access an extensive collection of books and reference resources during 48 hours on a pay-per-view basis. Many articles are available for paid download for lifetime use. It can be done without a subscription. Through this resource, you can find reliable user guides, training videos, and webinars.

3.3. Discipline-Oriented Libraries

If you are working in a narrow scientific field, multidisciplinary libraries may not meet your expectations and needs. Besides, if various disciplines discuss your research question, the search for references becomes a daunting task. Then you should explore discipline-oriented libraries. They function just like any other digital library but provide access to works in only one area of knowledge.

1 Project MUSE Johns Hopkins University hosts this web resource. It mainly focuses on digital articles and book chapters on humanities and social sciences.
2 PubMed Central The U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine offers PubMed Central. This is a free source for almost 4 million academic articles on biology and medicine.
3 IEEE Xplore This is the place to start if your research focuses on any of the many engineering fields.
4 arXiv Cornell University’s arXiv is the most extensive collection of open-source papers in mathematical fields. Subjects range from physics to statistics and finance.

3.4. Dissertation Databases

Ph.D. theses are usually written by young scientists. They are interested in being cited as much as possible, as it raises their researcher’s status. For this reason, top universities allow free access to Masters’ and Ph.D. papers written by their students. You can use these databases in your research.

1 PQDT Open Proquest is the most extensive open-access dissertation database. It provides full-text versions of theses & dissertations on a range of disciplines.
2 MIT Theses This archive contains every dissertation and thesis completed at MIT since 2004. But some date back to the 1800s. The complete collection contains more than 50000 texts.
3 Stanford University Libraries The graduate work of over a hundred thousand Stanford students is searchable from anywhere in the world.
4 UColorado Libraries Since 1997, the University of Colorado has archived every one of their Ph.D. dissertations here.
5 IDEALS At the University of Illinois, students have the option of depositing their theses on IDEALS. And you have the option of searching for their dissertations!
6 FAS Theses & Dissertations Last but not least, check out Harvard’s archive of dissertations begun in 2012. It’s one of the most famous universities in the world for a very good reason.

4.  Research Tools for Data Analysis

Data analysis is an essential part of any empirical research. It requires discipline-specific skills and knowledge of research instruments. Below you can find just a small share of data analysis tools available online or downloadable for most operating systems.

1 MS Excel Many people know it, but few of us can use its functionality. Its principal benefit is that this program is available in the MS Office package. It is an old tool, but it is the best for simple statistics, customizable graphics, and data visualization.
2 SPSS SPSS or Statistical Package for the Social Sciences is the most popular statistical software among human behavior researchers. It allows for parametric and non-parametric studies, descriptive statistics, and graphic visualization of the findings. You can also write scripts for automated analysis or more advanced statistical research.
3 R-project This package is free and widely used in many disciplines. Its toolboxes (or plugins) simplify any data processing. The functionality is the best among similar software solutions. It requires a certain knowledge of coding. Still, you can discuss any issues with the extended community that builds and improves the package.
4 Stata Stata is more functional than SPSS but simpler than R. Detailed user guides and tons of valuable information on forums can help you resolve almost any issue. This paid software is available for any platform. It is user-friendly and easily automated.

5.  Data Visualization Tools

When your research findings are ready, the worst thing you can do is pour all the statistical data on your future readers. Visualization of all those percentages, ratios, and correlations makes your paper engaging and easy to follow. Respect your reader’s time and try not to turn your research paper into a quiz.

1 Google Charts This is an excellent and totally free example of data visualization tools. Its interactive charts are explicitly designed to be embedded online. It offers a wide range of chart formats to choose from. The most significant benefit is its ability to work with dynamic data. However, Google Charts have limited support, namely tutorials and forum discussions.
2 Tableau Tableau astonishes with the number of data uploading options. Besides, it has a desktop, online, and free public versions. Unlike Google Charts, it has multiple video tutorials, so only the lazy will not master it. Still, its paid versions are expensive (about $70), and the public version does not permit you to keep your data private.
3 Infogram Infogram has a free version offering basic functionality and tiered pricing for the paid version. Its drag-and-drop editor is user-friendly and intuitive. The tool allows for interactive visualizations to be integrated into websites and apps. Its drawback is the small number of built-in data sources, as compared to other programs.
4 D3.js This is a free, open-source JavaScript library to manage data documents. People without programming skills can easily use software tools to create visualizations. Multiple types of charts and a customizable interface make it convenient and understandable. Still, programming knowledge will be beneficial when working with this software.

6.  Tools to Organize Your Research Process

Good organization is something needed on every research step. Below is a list of the most useful organizational tools for scholars.

1 Scrivener This tool unites the functions of a typewriter, ring-binder, and scrapbook. The trial version lasts for 30 days and includes all the features of the full version. This period is enough to understand whether you enjoy working in this program and complete a short project. It provides you with multiple methods of how to enjoy your research.
2 Zotero This is a excellent option for theoretical research that includes numerous citations. It is an open-source program facilitating the process of quoting and indicating the sources. It also collects and structures your information. These structures are tagged with keywords, which is very convenient for large-scale projects. Zotero has a function that creates a bibliography in any citation style.
3 Mendeley Mendeley creates a personal library directly from your browser tabs and desktop files. In a few clicks, you can generate citations and references to your library list. It has a function of personalized recommendations to stay informed about the newest research results. Besides, here you can browse information about more than 5’000 funding organizations and their grants.

Most people work with the software they are used to, ignoring the new and more functional alternatives. It is often rewarding to invest your time into exploring a new tool than to research and write your thesis in the same old way. Share your opinion about the described instruments in the comments and suggest your favorite ones!

Source: custom-writing.org

Categorized in Online Research

Companies require the most recent business statistics on the various companies and markets they have a stake in. They must be aware of the competition and how to manage their businesses better. The only thing they lack is the time and resources to complete the task themselves.

As an Internet researcher, you will be the one who digs and finds this information for the companies in question. You also convert this data into formats that the company can use.

Career Information Involving Internet Research

When it comes to being an online researcher, there's a lot more to it than you might think. For example, did you know that web researchers make an average of $26.49 per hour? ZipRecruiter's equates to $55,104 per year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the internet research career is expected to grow by 20%, resulting in 139,200 job openings across the United States. According to Zippia.com

Internet research is becoming a daily task for many people. Some careers require it more than others. Below are great career options for people who like doing research online and want to do it full-time.

Job Title

Median Salary (2020)*

Job Growth (2019-2029)*

Freelance Researcher

$66,681

20%

Web Researcher

$63,858

20%

Technical Writer

$74,650

7%

Historian

$63,100

3%

Private Investigator

$53,320 (for all private detectives and investigators)

8% (for all private detectives and investigators)

Librarian

$60,820

5%

Market Research Analyst

$65,810

18%

Source: *the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics & Glassdoor.com

The average hourly pay for a Freelance Researcher in the United States is $32.06 per hour as of August 3, 2021.

In North America, the average salary for a freelance Internet researcher is $62,000. However, it varies widely depending on the firm, region, sector, expertise, and benefits. According to SimplyHired.com, this compensation was computed using the average salary for all positions having the keyword "internet research specialists" somewhere in the job description. This pay is before the Association's professional researcher credentials are taken into account.

While ZipRecruiter lists hourly wages as high as $78.85 and as low as $7.45, the majority of Freelance Researcher incomes in the U.S. today fall between $16.83 (25th percentile) and $39.90. (75th percentile). The typical pay for a Freelance Researcher varies widely (by as much as $23.08 per hour), implying that there may be several prospects for growth and higher income dependent on skill level, location, and years of experience.

What is the Role of an Internet Researcher?

An internet researcher or freelance researcher does everything from finding information about companies, particularly contacts, such as e-mail addresses and phone numbers. All sorts of businesses and organizations use Internet researchers, including scientific organizations, magazines, and business firms.

Internet researchers utilize their skills to find information on a variety of topics on the Internet. In this field, you can work as a freelancer, contract employee, investigator, or direct employee of an organization. To find information, you must be able to use a search engine to access scholarly research, industry publications, and think tank documents and use the Internet as a primary tool for information gathering.

How to Become an Internet Researcher? Or Internet Research Specialist

Finding relevant and credible information requires specialized training and web search skills due to the sheer size of the World Wide Web and the rapid growth of indexed web pages.

Because the job of an Internet researcher requires the use of the Internet, the Association of Internet Research Specialists (AofIRS) states that he must first understand how to use the Internet, including how to access and display web pages in a web browser. What is the process through which a search engine reads and understands search keywords and phrases? Search engine intent interpretation of keywords and search phrases? How to choose keywords and create a search phrase that works etc.

You must also learn how to create complex search queries and search tools for the project you are working on. Data analysis is an essential part of an Internet researcher's job because you must comprehend and interpret the information you find.

To work as a web researcher, you don't need a degree. Instead, all you need to know is how to use web tools to swiftly and accurately gather reliable and truthful information. To grasp how keywords integrate into your ability to find information, you'll also need a fundamental understanding of search engine basics. It's also beneficial to become certified in specific research areas, so you know where to seek and whether or not a resource is reliable. A certification or degree may be helpful in this situation. A comprehension of market research and demographics data, as well as exceptional writing abilities, are required for this position.

What are the Most Reputable Online Research Certifications and Courses?

So far, the Certified Internet Research Specialist (CIRS) program has the most comprehensive curriculum and a well-rounded subject matter that meets industry standards. The Association of Internet Research provides the most reputable web research courses and certifications available and professional level certifications in web/internet research. A CIW course called CIW Internet Business Associate is another option. Some universities offer short online search courses, but the majority are geared toward librarians.

Certified Internet Research Specialist (CIRS™) Training Program

  • CIRS™ is the first of its kind - A Gold Standard Certification for Practitioners of Online Research. And a globally recognized professional certificate program offered by AofIRS. The Association is a Self-regulatory body governed by the "Charter of Associations” granted by the Government of Canada.
  • The CIRS training guide 5th edition course is aligned with the new 2021 curriculum, and It is best suited as a Practical Guide or Reference for anyone who uses the Internet as a primary tool for information gathering.
  • In this comprehensive course, you will learn about the practical approach to building complex search queries and search tools. If you become a CIRS, you are expected to be knowledgeable in selecting the best search tools and be proficient in building Internet search queries. You would develop sufficient knowledge of the Internet Laws and related ethical issues.
  • Learners who successfully pass the exam receive the Certified Internet Research Specialist (CIRS) certification, which is an industry-recognized certification that comes with certified membership benefits. Earn a higher salary after receiving hands-on training as an Internet Research Specialist.
  • Improve Your Search Skills and Advance Your Career in the Future Skill of Online Research. Increase your network strength by getting to know industry experts from all over the world.
  • This program is available in both Self-study and Online Training Classes. No prior knowledge or experience in research is required to take this course.

CIW Certified’s Internet Business Associate Training

  • Internet Business Associate Training is a broad course that covers a wide range of topics in today's web-based business environment.
  • Among other things, the course teaches learners about databases and their relationships to search engines, as well as how to use search engines to carry out basic and advanced web research.
  • You will learn how to connect to the Internet, Internet protocols, the Domain Name System (DNS), and cloud computing. The fundamental functions of Web browsers, the components of Web addresses, the use and management of cookies, and the use of browsers in the business world.
  • Upon successfully passing and completing the course, learners receive the CIW Internet Business Associate certification, which is an industry-recognized certification that comes with salary perks.
[Source: Uploaded by the Association Member: Erin R. Goodrich] 
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Categorized in Online Research

Teaching students how to be critical evaluators of information they encounter during online research is an essential life skill

Today’s students don’t know the world without the internet. They spend days and nights on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat but hardly know how to translate all this information into learning. Gen Z doesn’t necessarily think critically about what they find online.

As educators, we can teach the academic side of the internet to them.

Why is it so critical?

  • Online research skills and critical writing are among must-haves for students’ progress through college life and future career.
  • Studies show that young people don’t focus on the credibility of sources they use; they can’t explain why they choose certain websites, authors, and publications.
  • Surveys demonstrate that many students don’t understand how to use online sources to support their arguments.

Educators can help students evaluate online information efficiently. Its volume keeps growing, and it’s significant for young people to know how to separate the gems from the garbage and become critical writers and consumers, not just viewers.

So, how can we help youngsters do efficient online research and navigate information easily?

Critical evaluation

Let’s explain the dimensions of critical evaluation to our students. When researching a website, they should keep in mind its relevance, reliability, and accuracy.

  • To examine relevance and accuracy, a student should consider the quality of the content.
  • To examine the reliability, a student should consider the authors and their agenda.

Encourage students to forget about Wikipedia as a one-stop website for academic research. Teach them to consider and compare several sources. It might be challenging, but websites such as Teaching Channel or Read Write Think can help.

Effective judgment

Students follow the purpose of their project to understand what websites would fit it best. Content published by governments, universities, and credible media outlets is of higher quality for them to consider. Depending on the purpose, teach students to consider resources that:

  • are valuable for deeper research on language and literature;
  • allow finding reliable information on STEM disciplines;
  • help with writing essays on general topics.

Introduce cross-checking information to students and encourage them to explore several pieces for proving the accuracy and reliability of the reference.

The problem is that some students believe all online resources are of the same quality: They type a keyword into Google and use the info they see from the first result only. Though Google remains the #1 go-to source, students should understand that its top results sometimes don’t offer enough depth they need.

Please teach strategic search to students and provide them with several newspaper websites that have searchable archives. Kentucky Virtual Library and Google Scholar might be a good start.

Effective usage

Teach students to determine the difference between news, personal, professional, and commercial websites. Explain that the .edu, .gov, and .org domains are more reliable to use for academic purposes, as they commonly provide users with accurate and relevant content.
Introduce students to scholarly search engines (Ebsco, LexisNexis) and “Advanced Search” by Google. They encourage deeper research, allowing to find credible information and scholarly papers that are more accurate to refer to on particular topics.

Also, you might want to share some checklists with students to help them with efficient online academic research. Ask them to answer the following questions each time they evaluate a website and doubt if they can use it as a reference:

  • Is it relevant to my purpose?
  • Who is the author of this information?
  • Is this person (institution) credible enough?
  • Is the information on this website updated regularly?
  • Where and how can I check the accuracy of this information?
  • How can I connect the information to my purpose, questions, and interpretations?

Share a guide to online research with your students and propose some top resources on finding relevant data:

  • Academic Index
  • Project Muse
  • World Cat

More resources, as well as tips on efficient research, are here.

Despite their digital literacy, it might be tricky for students to interpret all online information into learning, especially when it comes to critical research, including relevance, accuracy, and reliability of that info. Lessons encouraging students’ evaluation skills will allow teachers to exercise academic research and help youngsters become better web consumers.

[Source: This article was published in eschoolnews.com By Lesley Vos - Uploaded by the Association Member: Joshua Simon]
Categorized in Search Techniques

As a brand or business, it’s not enough for you to intimately know your products and services. You also have to know your industry and customers inside and out if you want to achieve the highest level of success. To help you gain these insights, there are sites for market research that can offer a deeper look at your business and uncover ways to win over your audience.

What Is Market Research and Why Does It Matter?

Market research is the act of gathering and analyzing data about the position of a product or service in a market. It looks at information regarding current customer interest and potential growth.

The market analysis also gathers information about the people who are and might be interested in a product or service. It interprets data as they relate to customer spending habits, geographic locations, industry competitors, and economic conditions.

These insights help you find out:

  • How many people are likely to become your customers
  • Who your customers are
  • Why they buy
  • How they buy
  • How much they buy
  • Why they buy from you
  • Why they buy from a competitor
  • Where there might be opportunities for niche marketing

To find answers to these questions, there are many sites for market research that can help you uncover insights about your customers and industry.

The Best Sites for Market Research

Some of the best sites for market research include the following tools, platforms, and research methods. Use these free marketing research websites to gain insights into your industry, customer base, and potential for growth.

U.S. Census Data Tools

A vital part of marketing research is determining your market size or the potential reach of your products or service. Research to see how many people you could reasonably expect to become your customers. For this type of research, there are U.S. Census data tools. The site has more than a dozen online market research tools and free industry research reports that help you gain insight into demographics and geographic locations of populations who might be interested in your offerings.

US Census online market research tool

SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurship Education Resources

Another one of the best sites for market research as it relates to customer demographics and economic statistics is the U.S. Small Business Administration website. Their Office of Entrepreneurship Education has a variety of market research analysis tools, resources, and reports that provide information useful for learning about customer statistics, product production, economic factors, and data you can use for your marketing intelligence.

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Pew Research Center

For more reports and datasets to use in your market research, search the Pew Research Center. The company conducts “public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis, and other data-driven social science research,” all of which offer insights into social, industry, and media trends. The varied and in-depth reports help businesses get a data-focused perspective on the topics shaping industries and geographic areas.

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Statista

For researching data and stats, Statista is another one of the best sites for market research. The site includes datasets on topics in over 600 industries. In addition to providing hard data, Statista also provides many supporting charts and infographics that make the data easy to consume, understand, and use in your market analysis.

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Google Surveys

One of the most powerful ways to learn about your target market is to ask questions. Creating surveys and distributing them to people who match the characteristics of your ideal audience allows you to get direct insight into the minds of your target customers. One of the best sites for market research like this is Google Surveys. You create a survey, describe who you want to take the survey, and Google pools people who match your criteria, and provides you with the results.

free sites for marketing research

SurveyMonkey

Getting information from people who match the criteria of your ideal customer is useful and so is gathering data from the people who actually do business with you. A part of your market research should include surveying your current customers to gain insight into their buying decision process and information that can help you create buyer personas. To perform this type of research, use SurveyMonkey to create surveys that you can distribute to your list of current customers.

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Alexa Tools

Researching your audience is a powerful way to gain insights to use in your marketing intelligence, which is why Alexa is one of the best sites for market research. Using Alexa, you can uncover a variety of details about your audience’s demographics, interests, and habits.

Audience Overlap Tool

The Audience Overlap Tool allows you to enter your website or up to 10 competitors to see a list of other websites that the audience regularly frequents.

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This helps you get to know what other interests your audience has as you can see what other types of websites they use. Demo the tool for free and find similar sites now.

Competitive Keyword Matrix

Using Alexa to create a competitive website analysis is another way to conduct market research. One such tool for performing this analysis is the Competitive Keyword Matrix tool. The Competitive Keyword Matrix helps you get a look at the terms your ideal audience is using in search to find your website and your competitors’ websites. You can use this report to see which terms are leading your target audience to competitors and create a plan to target those similar keywords.

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Site Overview

The Site Overview Tool allows you to enter a website and receive a report on the website’s top keywords, traffic sources, audience geography, and other sites with an overlapping audience.

City Town Info

To get more detailed demographic information as it relates to careers and geographic areas, use City Town Info. The site allows you to search by region and explore details about what types of jobs and college experience residents of those areas have. The data helps businesses get to know the people living in specific areas around the U.S. and gather insights into what they do, how much they earn, how much education they have, and more.

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Google Trends

Google offers another one of the best sites for market research with Google Trends. It allows you to get insight into the minds of consumers and audiences. The tool helps you see what topics and stories are popular by displaying reports on the top, most searched for terms. You can use filter functions to see trending stories based on region and category to gain more insight into the areas that are most relevant to your audience and industry.

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Social Mention

Another tool that helps you get a radar on industry trends and hot topics is Social Mention. The tool curates social posts that mention a target search term. It also provides details about the search term such as audience sentiment (how users feel about the term) and reaches (how much influence the term has). To gain insight into your business or industry, you can search both your brand name and related terms to get an idea of how audiences feel about the topic.

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Start Your Market Research Today

When it comes to understanding and winning over more customers, don’t rely on guesses, estimates, or feelings. Get the facts. Do a detailed competitive analysis of your industry using these sites for market research and discover new growth potential for your business and the path you need to take to get there.

To get help with your market research, sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan. It includes the Audience Overlap, Site Overview, and Competitive Keyword Matrix Tools mentioned in this post along with dozens of other tools that help you learn about your customers, competitors, and industry.

 [Source: This article was published in blog.alexa.com - Uploaded by the Association Member: Robert Hensonw] 
Categorized in Business Research

Searching online has many educational benefits. For instance, one study found students who used advanced online search strategies also had higher grades at university.

But spending more time online does not guarantee better online skills. Instead, a student’s ability to successfully search online increases with guidance and explicit instruction.

Young people tend to assume they are already competent searchers. Their teachers and parents often assume this too. This assumption, and the misguided belief that searching always results in learning, means much classroom practice focuses on searching to learn, rarely on learning to search.

Many teachers don’t explictly teach students how to search online. Instead, students often teach themselves and are reluctant to ask for assistance. This does not result in students obtaining the skills they need.

For six years, I studied how young Australians use search engines. Both school students and home-schoolers (the nation’s fastest-growing educational cohort) showed some traits of online searching that aren’t beneficial. For instance, both groups spent greater time on irrelevant websites than relevant ones and regularly quit searches before finding their desired information.

Here are three things young people should keep in mind to get the full benefits of searching online.

1. Search for more than just isolated facts

Young people should explore, synthesise and question information on the internet, rather than just locating one thing and moving on.

Search engines offer endless educational opportunities but many students typically only search for isolated facts. This means they are no better off than they were 40 years ago with a print encyclopedia.

It’s important for searchers to use different keywords and queries, multiple sites and search tabs (such as news and images).

Part of my (as yet unpublished) PhD research involved observing young people and their parents using a search engine for 20 minutes. In one (typical) observation, a home-school family type “How many endangered Sumatran Tigers are there” into Google. They enter a single website where they read a single sentence.

The parent writes this “answer” down and they begin the next (unrelated) topic – growing seeds.

The student could have learned much more had they also searched for

  • where Sumatra is
  • why the tigers are endangered
  • how people can help them.

I searched Google using the keywords “Sumatran tigers” in quotation marks instead. The returned results offered me the ability to view National Geographic footage of the tigers and to chat live with an expert from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) about them.

Clicking the “news” tab with this same query provided current media stories, including on two tigers coming to an Australian wildlife park and on the effect of palm oil on the species. Small changes to search techniques can make a big difference to the educational benefits made available online.

More can be learnt about Sumatran tigers with better search techniques. Source: Shutterstock

2. Slow down

All too often we presume search can be a fast process. The home-school families in my study spent 90 seconds or less, on average, viewing each website and searched a new topic every four minutes.

Searching so quickly can mean students don’t write effective search queries or get the information they need. They may also not have enough time to consider search results and evaluate websites for accuracy and relevance.

My research confirmed young searchers frequently click on only the most prominent links and first websites returned, possibly trying to save time. This is problematic given the commercial environment where such positions can be bought and given children tend to take the accuracy of everything online for granted.

Fast search is not always problematic. Quickly locating facts means students can spend time on more challenging educational follow-up tasks – like analysing or categorising the facts. But this is only true if they first persist until they find the right information.

3. You’re in charge of the search, not Google

Young searchers frequently rely on search tools like Google’s “Did you mean” function.

While students feel confident as searchers, my PhD research found they were more confident in Google itself. One Year Eight student explained: “I’m used to Google making the changes to look for me”.

Such attitudes can mean students dismiss relevant keywords by automatically agreeing with the (sometimes incorrect) auto-correct or going on irrelevant tangents unknowingly.

Teaching students to choose websites based on domain name extensions can also help ensure they are in charge, not the search engine. The easily purchasable “.com”, for example, denotes a commercial site while information on websites with a “.gov”(government) or “.edu” (education) domain name extension better assure quality information.

Search engines have great potential to provide new educational benefits, but we should be cautious of presuming this potential is actually a guarantee.

[Source: This article was published in studyinternational.com By The Conversation - Uploaded by the Association Member: Bridget Miller]

Categorized in Search Techniques

(UNDATED) – The Indiana Business Research Center recently released two tools based on new data releases from the U.S. Census Bureau. Available on StatsIndiana, the portal to statistics for Indiana, researchers can visit the City and Town Population Change Dashboard, where they can explore population change throughout the decade based on population estimates released in May.

Population change by year from 2010-19 is available for all place names in Indiana. Discover how a city or town’s population has gone up or down since 2010, which was the date of the last census.

Also new from IBRC and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development is the Workforce Economy Dashboard, available on Hoosiers by the Numbers.

See how Indiana measures up to other states by a number of indicators: unemployment rate, job market, and building permit data. In the details, see how these indicators performed over a 20-year span across the country.

[Source: This article was published in wbiw.com  - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jasper Solander]

 

Categorized in Business Research

Bing updated its backlink tool. Now it reports competitor backlinks. So much better than what Google provides.

Bing updated an improved backlink research tool and announced it on Twitter. The backlink tool shows links from unique top referring domains, links on a page per page level as well as the top anchor text.

It also shows the same data for competitors.

This makes Bing’s backlink tool useful for researching links as part of a link building process.

Bing Backlink Research Tool

The tool has recently been upgraded with the new feature.

Archive.org has a screenshot of the Bing Backlink Tool support page. The screenshot is from April 2020.

The archive of the backlink tool support page has a snapshot of the old version of the Bing backlink tool.

It can be seen in the screenshot that the old tool only had two backlink features:

  • All Links
  • Disavow

old-tool.png

The new Bing support page shows that the tool now has three features

  1. All Links
  2. Similar Sites
  3. Disavow Links

Bing Similar Sites Tool

Bings similar sites tool presents a great way to do backlink research. The tool helps you gain insights on competitor backlinks and can be useful for non-competitor backlink research.

While the tool calls it the “Similar Sites” tool, you can actually put any domain name in there, regardless if it’s similar to your site and research away. This means it can be used for backlink research for clients or to find backlinks of sites that aren’t direct competitors.

Detailed Backlink Information

The tool shows domain level backlink information, with the number of links from each domain listed in a right-hand column.

If you scroll down the list of backlinks there’s a link to detailed information for each domain.

 view-detailed-report.png

Clicking the link provides a page by page listing of the backlinks. You can hover over each link and alternatively copy the URL or visit the web page to inspect it.

Backlink Filters

You can compare your site with a competitor site and use a filter to show three different kinds of backlinks.

Show All

This shows you all the domains that link to your site, to your competitor, and those that don’t link to one or the other.

Show Only Common Domains

This shows the domains that link to both your site and your competitor.

Show Domains Not Linking to My Site

This shows links from domains that your competitor has that you don’t have.

Anchor Texts

The detailed report contains an option to view the anchor text used to link to competitors and your own site, including the option to use the above-described filters.

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That’s useful for seeing what anchor text a competitor has that your site does not.

Download Reports

All of the detailed reports include the option to download the reports in CSV format.

Bing Backlink Tool is Representative

The Bing backlink tool does not show complete backlink information. It shows what it calls a “representative” set of backlinks.

That means it’s a partial set of backlinks. That said, I think it shows a decent amount of links. But it seems to me that Bing might be randomizing the quality of the links resulting in some high-quality links not being shown.

I checked the tool and noticed it was reasonably comprehensive although some links I was aware of were missing.

Still, it’s a free tool, and Bing provides a decent amount of information.

Backlink information is an area that Google has traditionally been stingy about sharing.

I have been waiting years for Bing to get a clue and exploit Google’s shortcoming by providing competitor backlink information.

That day has finally arrived.

Give the Bing backlink tool a spin. You may find it useful.

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Roger Montti - Uploaded by the Association Member: Robert Hensonw]

Categorized in Search Engine

Bing on Monday will begin accessing important information related to COVID-19 from government, business, and travel websites through a special Schema markup language that will allow people to search and find information on the search engine.

SEOs and website developers can use the SpecialAnnouncement schema markups to serve up in search results disease statistics, testing facilities and testing guidelines, school closures, travel restrictions including public transit closures, and special announcements from businesses related to hours or changes in service.

“We’re still developing all of the various scenarios for how the markup may appear,” Christi Olson, Microsoft evangelist, wrote in an email to Search Marketing Daily. “As more websites start marking up their sites with the specialannoucement code, we’ll extend and develop additional scenarios for how the data will surface in the search results.”

SpecialAnnoucement for businesses might show updates for business hours. Business services can appear in the local listings and in map, for example. The markup for COVID-19 testing facilities may be used to help locate a nearby facility within the search results page or within maps. The markup for public transportation closures can appear for related searches in queries.

The markup for DiseaseSpreadStatistics and for testing and guidelines may be integrated into Bing’s COVID tracker.

The markup for government health agencies will assist Bing in accessing statistics via country, state or province, administrative area, and city, but they must use the schema.org markup for diseaseSpreadStatistics.

Only official government site reporting case statistics for a specific region can use this tag. Information in the markup must be up-to-date and consistent with statistics displayed from the site to the general public. Special announcements must include the date and time posted, as well as the time the statistics were first reported.

There is also a SpecialAnnouncement schema markup for local businesses, hospitals, schools, and government offices. Again, the data must be posted on an official website and refer only to changes related to COVID-19. The name of the special announcement must be easily identified within the body copy on the website page. It must include the posting date and the time the announcement expires.

A label detailing the special announcements related to COVID-19 with a link to the site for more details may be used on web results and in local listings shown on the search engine results page or map. This provides an easy link for customers and community members to find the latest information.

The SpecialAnnouncement schema markup gettingTestedInfo and CovidTestingFacility should be used to direct those searching for risk assessment and testing centers. It can lead those searching to specific locations to well-known healthcare facilities or government health agencies. The schema.org markup must be used to add URLs and facility locations already associated with a provider or an agency. Listing other providers’ facilities is not supported at this time.

Each has its own markup language for website pages. More information can be found here. There, marketers and webmasters will find guidance to specify locations using “about” as a variable to identify the location. For SpecialAnnouncement schema markup this variable has been updated and changed to “spatialCoverage.”

[Source: This article was published in mediapost.com By Laurie Sullivan - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Categorized in Search Engine

[Source: This article was published in bbc.co.uk - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jennifer Levin]

Google turns 21 on Friday 27 September. The popular search engine is used by people right across the world and it's become a really important part of the internet for many.

To mark the special day we've got 21 facts about the tech giant that you might not know, unless you've already googled them yourself, of course!

  • 1Perhaps unsurprisingly, Google is the world's most visited website - it's even one of the most-searched terms on Bing.
  • 2Google was started by two college students, named Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They wanted to create a website which would rank pages based on how many other pages linked back to them, a bit like a web.
  • 3The word Google comes from the term 'googol', which is the number one followed by a hundred zeroes. The creators chose it to reflect the huge amount of data they were searching through.
  • 4The first-ever 'google doodle' (when Google's homepage changes to mark an important event) was created in celebration of the 1998 Burning Man Festival. The founders wanted people to know why they were out of the office.
  • 5Some of Google's most memorable doodles have celebrated the discovery of water on the Moon and John Lennon's 70th birthday, which was the first-ever video doodle.
  • 6The first Google server was stored in a custom case made of Lego.
  • 8At the Googleplex, there is a giant statue of a T-Rex dinosaur, which is often covered in flamingos. Rumour has it that this is a reminder to Google employees not to allow the company to go extinct.
  • 9Its headquarters are huge and there is lots of greenery. However, instead of lawnmowers, Google hires goats to keep the grass trimmed.
  • 10Google was the first big tech company to offer free meals to people who work there, and it allows employees to bring in their dogs to work.
  • 11Google Image Search launched in July 2001 and was inspired by the green Versace dress which Jennifer Lopez wore to the 2000 Grammy Awards. The dress became the most popular search query on Google - but there was no way to actually see it!
jenny.rtrs
REUTERS
Jennifer Lopez recently wore the same Versace dress during fashion week in Milan
  • 12Google first announced its e-mail service, known as G-mail, on April Fool's Day in 2004. As a result, many people thought it was a joke!
  • 13The verb 'google' was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2006, which defines it as "to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the World Wide Web".
  • 14YouTube became part of the Google family in 2006 after it was bought for more than $1.5 billion. At present, YouTube has nearly 2 billion monthly users, with more than 400 hours of video uploaded every minute.
gettyimages
GETTY IMAGES
The video-sharing platform has been part of the Google family for more than 10 years
  • 15The internet was 'broken' by a programmer at Google in 2009 after they accidentally added '/' to Google's blocked website registry. There is a '/' in nearly every website created, so nothing online could be accessed.
  • 1615% of the searches made every day on Google have never been searched before.
  • 17In April 2018, Google became the first company to achieve 100% renewable energy. This means that it is able to purchase a kilowatt of renewable energy for every kilowatt it uses.
  • 18Google actually has at least six birthdays, but it chooses to celebrate it on the 27th of September.
  • 19Google has a lot of little tricks. For example, if you search 'askew', all of the results turn crooked.
  • 20Just one Google search uses around the same amount of computing power it took to send the Apollo 11 astronauts to the Moon.
  • 21Nowadays, Google is far more than just a search engine. Future developments are set to include artificial intelligence, a new streaming-based gaming platform, and even driverless cars.
Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published bizcommunity.com - Contributed by Member: Jeremy Frink

The third Annual Western Cape Research Ethics Committees Colloquium was hosted by the University of the Western Cape (UWC) on Tuesday 11 September 2018

Here, the effectiveness of social media as a research tool and the implications of work conducted on these social media platforms were highlighted. 

According to Dr. Amiena Peck, from UWC’s Department of Linguistics, social media platforms have created many advantages of online research.

Guidelines, privacy, and cybersecurity

“Millions of South Africans use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin, and more and more people join daily. This makes finding data more accessible, but it does offer challenges,” Peck said. 

“Unfortunately, there are no guidelines and no existing literature for guidelines when using social media for data collection, and there are several other challenges – such as privacy issues and cybersecurity.”

Professor Neil Myburgh, chair of UWC’s Biomedical Research Ethics Committee, said the issue of consent when using social media is often not spoken about – but this should change. “We have seen on Twitter where photos of children were shared in particular campaigns, bringing ethical issues to the surface,” he said. 

Myburgh noted that researchers need to consider all ethical issues when harvesting data from social media and strict ethical guidelines need to be established for social media use.

Proper ethical research methods

These kinds of reviews carried out by Research Ethics Committees allow a collective of multiskilled people to review a proposal and check its scientific veracity, as well as its ethical quality – a useful process. 

UWC rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius said ethics is close to the hearts of most researchers and professionals at universities.

“Colloquia such as these are important to ensure that proper ethical research methods are taught to our young researchers. We have seen what has been happening in the accounting profession, for example – the curriculum needs to be amended so that we can teach the softer skills to our young accountants,” he said.

The colloquium enabled fruitful engagement between people closely involved in ensuring both scientific and ethical quality in research, whilst contributing to better practices all around. 

Attendees included participants from research structures at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Stellenbosch University, University of Cape Town, the South African Medical Research Council and the Western Cape Department of Health.
 
Categorized in Research Methods
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