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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Research in Action – Unlikely Search Tools

A few weeks ago I was typing a set of files all about collectible cars, mostly famous race cars, their drivers and different records set in the past. Every time I turned around they were talking about a different kind of collectible car that I was having to look up in Google. It was getting to be quite time consuming and was eating into my profitability on the files.

That's when I decided I needed a different method for researching. I got up from my desk, walked to my son's bookshelf, found a large hardcover book and sat back down. One of my son's favorite books is a book I purchased at a school book fair called Mega Wheels (The Most Exciting Cars in the World!).

Success! This book had all of the terms I needed. It has a page all about classic cars, one on recording-holding fast cars, different types of racing cars, muscle cars, everything. I went from typing into Google every three minutes to simply glancing down at this huge picture book laid open on my desk. Another benefit of the book was that it has information on multiple cars on each page. This way I had context and was able to remember spellings and acronyms when they referenced other cars later in the files.

This was definitely a lesson in how to think outside the box. Have you ever had success in researching for a file in an unlikely place?