Last night I attended a small networking event attended by professionals in a variety of businesses.  This event combined my efforts for networking on a business and volunteer level.  I served as the past-president of the Louisville Youth Group for several years and we are currently seeking board members, so I plugged that need last night.

As the conversation flowed, one of the members mentioned that he had published a book recently and had a new book coming out soon.  I was on the far end of the table so I missed a lot of the details of that conversation.  However, the thread moved down the table and another member mentioned some research she was doing of a more clinical nature.  She mentioned that she would need some statistics as well as some primary material based upon interviews of the target audience.

The thread of this conversation caused me to wonder, as I reflected upon it during the wee hours this morning, about how research and information analysis is part of every day life.  Math has its place but so do research skills.  New technologies do not change the need for empirical data, it just changes the methodologies.

How do professionals, who must conduct research to accomplish their task, bridge the gap when the methodologies they used 20 years ago have changed by force of technology?  Continuing Education courses in some professions may teach people how to adjust their technique.  Do all professions concentrate on information gathering methods when providing continuing education or do professionals flounder because they haven’t been given the opportunity to learn how to navigate the new waters?

How do you stay ontop, especially as a solo practitioner or self-owned business of the information research trends in your industry?  How do you conduct market research on your own or is it viewed as a line-item expense that you will pay an information professional because your commodity is not research but mine is?

Note:  This post is truly a reflection of intellectual curiosity on my part.  As the Answer Maven conducts market research and searches for topics to write about here and in other publications, I have the luxury of knowing how to do the research.  I hire out for a lot of the complex math associated with owning a business because that is beyond my skill set.  So I truly am interested in knowing how small business owners in any field gather the information they need to conduct business.  Are the skills you learned in college or graduate school enough of a basis to help you bridge the gaps?  Please leave comments with your responses.