Skill Set 7: Gathering Information

Skill 23: Search the Web
Skill 24: Use Library Holdings
Skill 25: Use Commercial Databases
Skill 26: Conduct Interviews
Skill 27: Use Surveys
Skill 28: Keep and Use Records

Knowing how to collect information is critical to any job because you cannot perform your job without having the necessary information. Getting information is more than a high speed scavenger hunt. It requires focus in the face of chaos. Not being sure what you are looking for creates substantial difficulties. Frequently, people requesting the information are not clear. Even if they are, the first piece you bring them may be a surprise and then they may request different information.

People usually refer to seeking information as peeling away layers of an onion. You start with basic information to understand the questions you want answered, and then you need to find more information to answer the questions, which leads to more questions and more information. As you analyze your information, you will need to ask better questions. Sometimes you realize that your information base is weak and that you need to search for more specific information. Collecting information is an unlimited, open-ended process, but we have to start somewhere. This chapter features six skills that will explain how to collect different kinds of information essential to most jobs.

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