The wonderful business information expert Karen Blakeman of RBA Information Services publishes a list of top business research tips on her blog at the end of each of her Business Information workhops.
This is the list generated by the researchers attending her workshop in April. As you may have spotted the 10 has grown to 15 in this instance.
1. FITA Import Export Business and International Trade Leeds. http://www.fita.org/. The “Really Useful Links” in the menu on the left hand side of the screen takes you to a range of international sources on business information. One participant of this workshop found the “Doing business”, and in particular in the Middle East, especially useful.
2. Nationmaster http://www.nationmaster.com/. An interface to a plethora of statistics on web sites world wide. Some of the statistics are 2-3 years old but there are links to the original site so that you can search for more up to date information. Several participants suggested that this site is a good ‘index’ of where data is likely to be found.
3. Blogpulse http://www.blogpulse.com/. One of several blog search engines, but this was singled out for its Trends graphs. These show how often your search terms are mentioned in posts over a selected period of time. In a business context the occurrences will usually match reports in the mainstream media. When they don’t, click on the peaks in the graph to see what is going on behind the scenes. Superb for picking up on rumours and gossip.
4. Yahoo Finance. Go to any Yahoo and click on the Finance link. For the UK version go to http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/. Yahoo Finance provides basic information on stock exchange quoted companies on the major stock exchanges around the world. Information includes current share price information (delayed by 15-30 minutes) provided by the stock exchanges; company profiles; charts in which you can compare the company share price with another company, the sector and an index such as the FTSE 100; current news on the company and focussing on the regulatory news; and daily historical share prices as figures that can be downloaded to spreadsheets.
5. Freepint Bar http://www.freepint.com/. Head for the discussion area, labelled as the Bar, where you can post your query and tap into the knowledge of regular ‘tipplers’
6. Silobreaker. http://www.silobreaker.com/. A new site pulling news from the usual newspapers and journals, but also blogs, video and audio. In addition It offers geographical hotspots, trends and a network visualisation tool, which was singled out by one participant.
7. Contact a relevant research, trade or professional body for help in locating experts. sources of information and reports. They may not have anything on their web site but there may something ‘on file’ that they are willing to supply free of charge or for which they are prepared to negotiate a fee.
8. Intelways. http://www.intelways.com/. An interface to many search tools grouped by type e.g. news, video, image. Type your search terms in once and click on the different search tools one by one. A reminder of the different types of information that you should be looking at and of the wide range of search engines that are out there.
9. Click on the Advanced Search option for any of the tools that you encounter, be it Google et al or a web site’s own search option. They offer great ways of focussing your search by date, file format, site, author etc.
10. RBA Business Sources. http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/. Selected sources of business information organised by type e.g. statistics, share prices, company registers. Yes, it is my own site [blush] but they did insist!
11. Phil Bradley’s web site and blog. http://www.philb.com/ and http://philbradley.typepad.com/. Excellent sources of information on Web 2.0 ’stuff’ and search tools. In particular, his blog has no-nonsense reviews of new search tools that claim they will change the world of search.
12. Intute. http://www.intute.ac.uk/. Forget about the ac.uk label. This is an excellent starting point for anyone working in business and wanting to identify quality resources on a wide range of subjects and industries.
13. Hometrack. http://www.hometrack.co.uk/. This site provides key statistics and data on the UK housing market and financing of that market. Especially relevant in the current economic climate.
14. Alacrasearch. http://www.alacra.com/alacrasearch. A Google custom search engine that focuses on business sites selected by Alacra. [A personal note: this is in my top 5 favourite search tools].
15. CIA World Factbook – country profiles. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factboo/. Key statistics on every country. For those of you of a more adventurous disposition when it comes to travel, it even includes the number of airports with unpaved runways.