For 8.6.17

Your research next steps

As we discussed in class, your assignment is to shift your research to a higher level: to survey what relevant professionals are saying about your topic

Search for relevant professionals discussing your topic

  • As we discussed with Harry’s example, you’ll need to revise your search question to include key words that will lead you to articles in the Big 4 consulting firms, HBR, etc.
  • We searched for “current issues data-driven market research 2016 hbr” and right away found: Marketing Analytics Can Improve the Customer Experience
  • For more, see my advice on Search

Scan the article for discussion of Issues

Scanning this article for discussion of issues we found: “The problem isn’t access to data; most businesses said they collect mountains of information on their customers. The real obstacle to better customer experience, the research has found, is built into the way organizations share that data, analyze it, and work together.”

  • Such formulations can help us transform our general interest into a proper research question; here, Harry’s general interest in the use of data in marketing got him to a formulation emphasizing problems of sharing, analysis, and communications.
  • Problems of sharing, analysis, and communications are conceptual — an essential component of research questions as they are larger than any particular instance: one could look for other studies featuring this perspective or apply it to firms facing similar problems

Scan the article for sources supporting their assertions

As the Big 4 consulting firms and top journals like HBR often base their claims on surveys of business leaders, we can then ask who they were talking to.

  • Here, they refer to “Joerg Niessing, a marketing professor at INSEAD” so we then looked that up.
  • There are other references, and as above we can select special phrasing, literally copy their formulations, as such publications talk the talk of the professionals who would understand them — the talk of those we want to get to know

Now report on what such experts have to say

This time, instead of a general definition, Harry can instead report on what Joerg Niessing had to say

  • Use report structures, where you explain to your reader not what is, but what someone says it is and where you are collecting and not yet judging your findings
  • To prepare, complete the exercises on the Reporting Verbs handout (also on our Dropbox)
  • For the moment, interpret what is being said in neutral terms; your next step will be to compare different statements and in a critical way


Research, implement, document, and discuss your new DAILY backup routine

Sync Notes

If you have not set up synchronized notes, such as Notes in OSX or applications/services like OneNote or Evernote, now is a good time to do so

  • Everyone: explore note-taking “on the fly,” your capturing notes in class or between classes which you later can follow up, edit, or add to other notebooks
  • When exploring, you are looking to capture thoughts that appear briefly and are about to disappear as we all forget over the course of a day
  • When reporting on your note-taking, make screenshots and explain how you used such notes to go on to bigger things — such as Creating Boxes

Create Boxes

By creating boxes we mean like Twyla Tharp, as discussed briefly on 43folders and more extensively here: where you make an effort to pay attention, collect things, and reflect on them

  • Your task is engage your material by thinking about it as you see these little assignments are big steps on the way to your term papers and the BA thesis
  • Read Tharp’s advice in small piece, lift your eyes off the page, and then think about how her discussion of the creative process might apply to you and then do something about it
  • We discussed your taking notes, collecting images and diagrams, collecting bookmarks, using Mendeley to collect your sources … any little thing you might do to find, collect, sort, organize, and reflect on your topic


  • Download, install
  • Save some pdfs with bib info
  • Sync across devices
  • Add browser plugin
  • Add tags so you can find things