Everyone can become a genius, and one way of doing it is through research. In this article, I’ll show you why research is important and how you can get started with it. Research is one of the most effective ways to increase your knowledge by tapping into the vast ocean of information out there. With the rise of the Internet, acquiring them has never been easier in the history of mankind. Finally, we can grow our knowledge bank as much as we want like going on an information buffet.
What is Research?
Research is a systematic way of acquiring knowledge which aims to answer a question or discover new insights regarding any subject matter from any industry. I know you’re aware of this activity because you practiced it in school when you were creating a research paper to submit to your teacher/professor. Back then, you couldn’t escape research because it’s part of the curriculum and you can’t graduate without it.
Research is a very powerful activity to do and will benefit you in many ways, that’s why I brought this topic up. But if you think I’m gonna bring you back to old school research, don’t fret. We’re just going to do simple, easy, and basic research and I’ll do my best to remove all the unnecessary stuff. All of these we’re going to do online.
You Can Go Forward In Life without Research
First off, if the idea of conducting a research seems daunting to you, then this blog is not for you. Life will go on even if you don’t take the time to learn new things. I’m just merely suggesting that there is power when you perform a research because I do believe that doing so will prove to have a lot of benefits in your part. However though, I would warn people of the following who won’t explore his or her possibilities.
1. You become More Brittle in Life
I feel anxious every time I don’t know about something and feel like wandering in the dark. Making myself enlightened on the concept allows me to grow wiser and better in taking any life decision I might have. The consequences of not being knowledgeable enough are so bad that it will make you feel brittle and very sloppy. Although there are times that you don’t need to gain knowledge, an upgrade will always prove to be beneficial.
2. Lacking Research means Less Trustworthiness
If you conduct proper research and do your homework, people will see you as someone who is dedicated because you put in the time and effort to delivering the best results to them. This is so powerful because then, people will perceive you as someone who can be trusted and will be considered a reliable source of information and is very dependable. Simply put, between an amateur and a professional, to whom will you take advice from?
3. Risk is Greater without Adequate Information
Just imagine if you were running a business without even conducting research on your market and competitors. Imagine spending a huge amount of money on a project that you are not knowledgeable enough. Or at its simplest, imagine investing your hard-earned cash on stocks or mutual funds by just picking any stock you feel like investing in. Simply put, it’s too risky to make a move without doing due diligence and research.
4. We are in the Information Age
Again, I will remind you that with the rise of the Internet, information has been widespread. Today is the time where people need to learn more in order to survive. Unlike the Industrial or the Agrarian Age, the Information Age is perhaps the best time to live because the power can now be harnessed by almost every individual on this planet. If you don’t like researching, then fine. Just don’t get left behind with information.
5. It makes you More Organized and Systematic
While reading articles and watching YouTube videos can definitely help you in many ways, conducting an online research will 10X the learning process. There’s an adage: “Research is organized curiosity”, and it is. It helps keep your mind organized so that it becomes easier to retrieve the knowledge if ever you will need it. It helps build stronger connections in the brain and allows you to gain intuition on the subject.
6. It Boosts Your Motivation and Self-Confidence
I was a former professor and taught engineering subjects to the class. I must admit that at times, I came to class not prepared and would just read my notes “on the spot”. I failed to prepare because I did not research enough on the subject and it hurt my self-confidence. Moral Lesson: Conducting right amounts of research will definitely boost your motivation as well as your self-confidence, regardless of where you will apply it in life.
Online Research 101: Unleashing Your Genius
Now let’s go to the meat of the subject, the How’s of doing research. May this serve as your guide the next time you browse the Web and I hope you’ll follow some of my advice here. Ready to become the next genius? Let’s begin!
I. Define Your Purpose First
The most important thing in going into any commitment is to first begin with the end in mind (says Stephen Covey). Learn to establish your objectives every time you go on a research so that you won’t get lost in the details. To help you get through this, below are my guide questions in choosing the right purpose.
- What topic do you want to learn?
- What problem are you trying to solve?
- Where is your curiosity taking you?
- What results are you trying to expect?
- What are the benefits that you can gain here?
II. Tap into Online Resources
This is the acquisition stage, wherein we take as much resources as we can as if we are eating on a buffet (I love that!). Take note that we are doing Internet research, and the only requirements to perform this activity is by having a computer and an Internet connection, nothing else. I do believe that these resources are very reliable in most cases especially if what you’re seeking is just more information on the subject. We’ll focus on quality control later. Given below are the diverse set of tools you can choose from.
- Electronic Magazines/Newspapers
- Wikis/Online Encyclopedias
- Videos/Online Courses
- Interactive Materials such as Apps
- Other Sources
III. Assuring the Quality of Resources
Have you done the previous step? If so, I assume that you have acquired around 5 to 10 resources of different type. Now in this step, it’s time to filter the quality by looking at the credibility of each of the resources you have acquired. Some of the ways include checking the credibility of the source and testing for social proof. But given below are more specific ways in doing that.
1. Go for the Big-Time Personalities First
The easiest and simplest way to find high quality materials is by getting it from high-profile people who have already made extraordinary amounts of success. If you want to research on how to make money online for example, follow Gary Vaynerchuk, Neil Patel, Brian Dean, Ramit Sethi, Pat Flynn, or Darren Rowse. The resources made by these people are just absolutely awesome and will therefore make a good research tool.
2. Tap into the biggest Authority Sites on the Subject
This works well with authors who work for authority sites such as Entrepreneur.com, Forbes.com, Lifehack.org, and many more websites that are very big in size. Note that these are just companies and not individuals, but they still work as well when it comes to delivering high quality materials. The good thing about these websites is that they expand in many different fields and therefore allows for broader research.
3. Verify Research through Social Proof
Social proof is a very powerful tool which creates influence as well as trust. Therefore, it helps to leverage on this phenomenon and take full advantage of it. One way of doing this is by finding commonalities among all your references and taking note of each. If there are examples or case studies provided within the content, then that suggests social proof, which I think is a good indicator of a high quality resource.
4. Evaluate the Quality of the Content
You might as well judge the quality of the content itself. If it has too much spelling or grammar problems, then start questioning the material. Also, if the content doesn’t deliver well and did not meet your expectations, you might as well disapprove it as your source. When it comes to videos or courses, find out how it was presented and how professionally it was made. Another tip I would suggest is to find out when the material was created.
IV. Consuming the Materials
Now that you have the best resources at hand, it’s time to consume all these materials and start growing your knowledge bank. Depending on the material, some will take a longer time and some will be faster. Some will prove more effective to consume and some might get too boring in the middle. Some will have common advice but some are unique and will sometimes stand out. At this stage, I couldn’t really say anything for sure. Just be natural, consume the resources and let the messages sink in. Some guide questions that I could give are the following.
- What are the important things to remember?
- Is the material easy to understand?
- Why did that person say that?
- Is there a common ground in all the resources?
- Are there unique insights that seem to stand out?
- Was there a “Eureka” moment?
- Are there conflicts in the content of the materials?
- What is the personality of the author or creator?
- What is the overall conclusion of the research?
- What are the recommendations?
V. Applying the Research
Taking concrete action is the best way to make your research sink in to your system. Regardless of how formal or informal your research has been, the finishing move will be to apply your research in real life. That’s when the spark of real genius really comes alive. Without further ado, let’s get on with it.
1. Make the Necessary Changes
Perhaps the most obvious application is to apply the change right away to improve your current situation. A research you made on wise spending for example suggests that you save about 33% of your monthly income to invest it on something else. If you have been saving only 10%, then make it a goal to increase your savings to 33%. In order for the research to bear fruit, you must take the necessary action for it to become a reality or else it’s a waste.
2. Find Activities or Work Related to Your Research
If your research is about online marketing, try making a website and creating a blog. If your research is about Italian pastas, grab the ingredients and start cooking. And if your research is about how to go on a date, then take your partner with you and get out there. In doing this, you are continuing the learning process because you are seeing things in action. Don’t worry about making mistakes, your body will adapt to the situation and correct itself, which is another form of learning.
3. Teach What You’ve Learned
The good thing about teaching is that it’s a double-sided tape. Not only will the people benefit, but you will actually benefit as well. You might be surprised that once you’ve opened up the topic, they will start sharing their knowledge as well. Heck, they might even know the topic better than you! Two or more people thinking and sharing is the perfect recipe for brainstorming, hence more brainpower created.
4. Do another Research related to your Research
Well, why don’t you just take your findings and do another research? Because the truth is, this is how people evolved as human species, by taking old information and using it to create new ones. I truly believe that all things are connected, from the very basic to the most advanced topics. This is how people stack their knowledge up and eventually become experts in their own respective fields.
BONUS: Becoming a Better Thinker/Learner/Researcher
Since we are here anyway, I would like to share some of my advice on how to improve your skills to become a better thinker, learner and researcher. I want your research to be a successful one, that’s why you’ll get an extra serving of my content. Think of it as an upgrade to better improve your overall thinking/learning/researching capabilities.
1. Take Notes and Organize It
Research will definitely provide lots of information, so huge that you need to find a way to contain it before you can even learn something from it. That’s where note-taking and organizational skills come in handy. I’m not saying that you go buy a notebook just for the sake of research. I highly recommend that you follow this tip naturally and don’t formalize your notes (like how you did it in school). Just write whatever feels writing to you and then organize it later.
2. Focus on One Thing at a Time
There is power in focus. Working on one thing at a time places your full attention on the task. As a result, it makes your research better and more organized because all of the fluff that you don’t need is removed from the system. This allows for more space in your mind to think more. You’ll be surprised by the amount of things you can do in less time if you just focus and concentrate on the matter.
3. Always Begin with the Basics
With so much information in your hands, you actually become more prone to overwhelming yourself and experience overload. This in turn leads to analysis paralysis, which further impedes you in your progress. If you face such situation, it actually helps to simplify things out by first focusing on the basics. Beginners and newcomers in an expertise should focus on getting the fundamentals right before going on to tackle more advanced stuff.
4. Keep Your Mind Open
Eventually when you immerse yourself in the process, curiosity will set in. Every time there is a new thought that wishes to enter your house of knowledge and wisdom, don’t hesitate to open the doors for it. In simple terms, be open-minded to all the possibilities out there. Remember that in doing research, you are in the process of creating new knowledge. So let your curiosity do its wonders and you will reach greater distances.
5. Practice Holistic Thinking
Having an open mind requires that you form new connections in your brain, and that’s what holistic thinking is all about. I recommend that you read Scott Young’s Learn More Study Less e-book to know more about holistic thinking. He explains it in pictures that’s why I think you will never get bored while reading it. This principle is actually the secret of the genius people from across the globe.
6. Form Conclusions and Constructive Thoughts
Perhaps the most important part of a research is its conclusion. It is the product of combining all the facts that has been presented and finding the one thing that matters. For product reviews, it might mean using the product or not. For losing weight, it might be deciding on the most effective method to use. For researching famous people, it might mean knowing the overall personality of the person and his/her values in life.
7. Make Research a Habit
Repetition is key. That’s why I recommend that you get in a habit of researching to further advance your knowledge. Genius doesn’t come out in a day, but rather as a result of committing yourself to learning and sticking to the process. Eventually, by showing enough number of times, you will be able to refine and improve on your research and hopefully create large stacks of information that people will look up to.
8. Be an Obsessed Person!
Get into your core and find out what you really, really want. Bring your hidden obsessions to the surface once again and start going for it. That’s where your true passions lie and is your fuel for massive success. The great leaders of the world whom you really love such as Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs understand this concept well. Rest assured, your energy in doing online research will never run out if you work with your passions and obsessions in life.
Don’t be afraid of research because it will help you a lot in many ways. You will grow wiser and better than your companions and friends. Think of it as an investment wherein you’ll spend money, time and lots of effort on improving yourself. The returns I believe will be greater wealth in the form of knowledge and wisdom. Who knows, you might be able to monetize from it once you start developing credibility and creating your brand.
So good luck my fellow readers, I hope you’ve learned a lot from this lesson but most importantly, I hope you’ve picked one or two tips and start applying it to your life right now. Which of these tips are you strong at? Which of these tips are you weak at? Would you mind sharing it with me down below in the comments area? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on the subject. Happy researching everyone!