Q. Why do I need research?
A. Know thyself and know thy competition. Research sheds a light on hidden audiences, behaviors and expectations. Research also lets you see what is and isn’t working- whether it’s from a program point of view or a machine at a manufacturing plant.
Q. What does a researcher do?
A. Excellent question, grasshopper. A researcher uses proven and specific methods to help in uncovering information. A good researcher understands the macro and can find the micro.
Basically, the goal is find an answer and/or provide a solution, offer analysis and present the findings. The types of research vary from a numbers and spreadsheet fellow to a running a focus group. Think of it this way- both people and numbers can provide a wide variety of information.
Q. What makes a good researcher?
You want someone with great listening skills. That is by far one of the most important skills your guy can have.
You also want someone who can break down the information where you and your clients understand it. You’re probably not interested in the process of research. You want to see the results and fully understand how the results effect your business.
Remember my mantra is, ‘Does it Work‘ and the name of this blog is Useful Research.
Q. So, how does a producer become a researcher?
A. Ok, so on paper it looks odd. I’ll grant you that. One of the many jobs of a producer is researching.
Earlier, I mentioned that excellent listening skills are vital for a researcher to be successful. Turns out that is what makes a successful producer as well.
A producer (depending on the size of the project) will research the storyline, vet stories, conduct general research on the guests who will be interviewed, clear rights and images, ensure the footage is correct to the storyline and interview the subjects.
Interviewing is really about preparation and listening.
Q. You actually *like* to research?
A. Yes, this is a familiar question. I will unashamedly admit that I do. For me it’s the thrill of the chase. How effectively and efficiently can I answer your question and find a solution. I’m also an information hound.
Q. Can’t I just Google it?
A. Well, yes and no. Google has opened the doors of information. But, information is not the same as research. (Technically speaking, all research is information but not all information is research. Yes, I did well in philosophy logic classes as well).
Researchers look for patterns flowing from one idea to the next. There is also that specific knowledge that involves databases, reliability of source information and validity of information.
Here’s where the BA in Communications comes in handy- I decipher what you’re asking with the solution you need/want. Ask me a question and I know instantly how to phrase the question, where to find the information and how to present the solution. Pretty neat, huh?