Wednesday, 29th August 2012
Rachel Bates Wilfahrt
Twice a year, FreePint publishes a compendium of articles supporting different areas of information work. This report collects six months’ worth of articles tagged with the category of research. Our guest editor Rachel Bates Wilfahrt looks at the spectrum of research topics, with a particular eye to emerging information sources.
I recently attend the annual conference of the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. While there, I attended two workshops: one on private company research and one on international prospect research. As I reviewed articles for this guest editorial on the topic of research more broadly, I saw these two areas emerge. I believe they are reflective of the current nature of research, regardless of particular focus. Private companies and international entities have long presented challenges in research, but it appears that the borders of what we as researchers can access and analyse are expanding.
While the foci of the articles I highlight here are distinctly different, they each represent a move toward more increasing accessibility of traditionally difficult-to-find information. To me, this indicates the opportunity to expand my offering of services and provide additional value by broadening and deepening my perspective. I hope my fellow researchers feel the same way.
In her article on private company information outside the U.S., Heidi Longaberger merges these two areas, outlining reporting requirements in the UK, Ireland and Western Europe. This represents a shift in the accessibility of private company information, as most resources have traditionally focused on estimates instead of hard data.
Penny Crossland’s piece on translation tools alerts us to two new translation services more concerned with quality than simple mass translation of information. The two services she highlights are an excellent addition to any business researcher’s toolkit.
Latin American resources are the focus of Beth Bandy’s feature, which provides a comprehensive list of resources from statistics to news to databases. The collection of free and fee-based tools covers both overarching trends in Latin American business and finance, and specific companies within those countries.
Finally, Perrin Kerravala looks at sources for the emerging markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). MENA markets operate in an uncertain business environment, evidencing the importance of these resources, which provide access to company profiles, biographies, credit reporting, and financial analysis.
One of the greatest things about working as a researcher is continually learning about new tools and exploring new topical areas, especially ones that have previously been challenging. As our client base and stakeholders become increasingly global, so can the intelligence we provide to them. Research is a complicated but important field of information work, where it’s important to constantly be seeking the boundaries of the information we can identify and analyse.
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