The Skeptical Business Searcher: The Information Advisor's Guide to Evaluating Web Data, Sites, and Sources / Edition 1

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Offering business information users strategies for identifying and evaluating no-cost online information sources, this guide emphasizes techniques for recognizing biased and untrustworthy web sites. Information users are directed to the most useful and targeted sources of company histories and overviews. These include corporate sales and earnings data, SEC filings and stockholder reports, public records, market research studies, competitive intelligence, industry analyses, staff directories, executive biographies, statistics, survey/poll results, conference proceedings, press releases, news stories, and hard-to-find information about small businesses and niche markets. Demonstrated are concepts such as precision searching, which enables business searchers to quickly find the specific information they need. Also discussed are critical-thinking skills and the art of asking the right question. A 10-point checklist that allows users to systematically evaluate web site reliability is included.

About the Author:
Robert Berkman teaches courses on research methods and media ethics at the New School University. He is a frequent speaker at workshops and conferences, including the European Journalism Centre, Maastricht, Netherlands, and Web Search University. He is the past director of secondary research for The Winters Group, a market research firm, and has been the editor of such journals as The Information Advisor and What to Buy for Business. He is the author of Find It Fast: How to Find Information on Any Subject, The Art of Being Well Informed, Find It Online, Finding Business Research on the Web, and Finding Market Research on the Web. He lives in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780910965668
  • Publisher: Information Today, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 281
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Table of Contents

Figures and Sidebars xi
Acknowledgments xvii
Foreword xix
About the Web Page xxiii
Chapter 1 The Business Researcher's Challenge 1
Some Things Haven't Changed 2
Enter the Quality Checklists 4
The New Internet 5
Why This Book? 8
Seeing the Big Picture 9
The Internet Emerges 12
Scope of This Book 17
How to Use This Book 18
Chapter 2 What to Do Before Using a Search Engine 21
Basic Library Business Sources 22
Prescreened Web Sites 23
Invisible Web Sources 27
Databases on the Invisible Web 30
Web Indexes and Directories 33
Discussion Groups 39
Weblogs 39
RSS Feeds 41
Summary 44
Chapter 3 Precision Business Searching 45
Why Only One Search Engine? 46
Why Google? 47
How Search Engines Work 48
Best Diner in Town? 49
Precision Searching Techniques 52
Alternatives to Google 65
Chapter 4 What to Do With Questionable Sites 69
How Journalists Use the Web 70
Reassuring Signs 74
Ferreting Out the Facts 75
Chapter 5 Company and Industry Sources 111
Sources for Locating Company-Provided Data 112
How Credible Is Company-Supplied Information? 114
Market Research Reports and Data 123
Investment Research Reports 132
Finding and Evaluating Discrete Market Data on the Web 134
Company Directories 136
Other Sources 139
Chapter 6 Statistics, Polls, and Surveys 141
Statistical Data 141
U.S. Government Statistics 142
One Strategy: Use Preferred Statistical Sources 154
A Primer on Understanding Statistics 155
Polls and Surveys 157
Chapter 7 News, Talk, and Blogs on the Net 163
Online News and Media Services 163
Web Discussion Groups, Blogs, and More: Opinions and Anecdotal Information 170
Mailing Lists 174
Chapter 8 Knowledge, Intuition, and Trust 185
Building Your Own Knowledge 185
Developing Critical Thinking Skills 189
The Art of Asking the Right Questions 194
The Use of Intuition 196
Whom to Trust 198
Determining Truth 200
Business-Related Urban Legends and Myths 202
Seeking Larger Truths on the Internet 203
Chapter 9 Prescreened Business Sites 207
Best of the Business Sites 207
A Sampling of FIND/SVP's Trusted Sites (By Industry/Practice Area) 230
Appendix A Web Site Evaluation Checklists 243
Appendix B Referenced Sites and Sources 247
About the Author 263
Index 265
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