Specialist Tutorial - Navigating through the Unknown

Embarking on a Journey

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Research is no longer about who has the most patience in digging through piles and piles of books and journals. It is a new age of technology where working smarter is better than harder. The coffee industry is in a volatile state right now, with Starbucks leading the crowd, can they keep the lead? What new tricks will their competitors pull out of their sleeves?

On this page, I will guide you through the sources I used to keep up to date with the U.S. coffee industry. I hope this will be helpful to you as I pass on the torch of maintaining up to date. Try not to get overwhelmed by these tools, maintain the thought that by mastering them, your life will be easier. For concepts you wish to learn more about, just click on the hyperlinks for a full evaluation / tutorial.

Getting Started

To start, you are probably aware of the power of web search, a simple Google or Bing search will indeed return millions results on the [coffee industry]. Don't forget that you can apply special search syntax to make your life easier. If you find a site you like, you can bookmark it or use special bookmarking service like Delicious to help you stay organized.

This Tutorial is designed to transfer what I have researched so far to you - not just by giving the pure information, but rather teaching you HOW I found those resources so you can maintain his information and even improve upon it.

Build a Strong Foundation - Overview of the Industry

Read the brief introduction on the home page and background information.

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Be Familiar with the Market Players

You should use change notification tools to ensure that you are notified of any corporate press releases.

Know the Past

Before you can take over this project, you have to know what has occurred in the market recently. The best way to learn is to either read RSS feeds I've shared or to read my news event summaries.

These are resources you should be aware of.

Go Forth and Search!

The easiest way to do this is to find and subscribe to lots of RSS Feeds

Some sites, such as news sites, are constantly updated. Instead of going to all those bookmarks of good sites, you can subscribe to the site's RSS Feeds using RSS Tools like Google Reader or Bloglines. In my time on this task, I found RSS Feeds to be the most useful tool. Make sure you understand the basic concept of RSS feeds. You can also create your own RSS feeds with Yahoo! Pipes or Dapper.

How do I find RSS Feeds to Subscribe to?

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  • You can use Blog Search Tools such as Technorati, Bloglines and Google Blog Search to find blogs you are interested in. Out of the three, I would recommend using Bloglines.
  • Web Directories are a great way to quickly find a list of websites about a particular topic. Instead of searching for sites, you search or browse for categories that relate to your interest. For instance, here are the Yahoo Coffee Directory and Google Coffee Directory.
  • The Deep Web contains a ton of information regular search engines do not have access to, so be thorough and use them! I found BNET to be helpful for articles on Google's management. This was useful because the values the CEO is placing onto the "new" Starbucks is at the heart of its growth.
  • News Search is absolutely vital to stay abreast with on-going events. Although you might know common ones such as Google News and Yahoo! News, I recommend also using less known tools such as Silobreaker, which uses semantics and algorithms to guide your search.

Some less useful tools are as follows - they did not contribute value in my leg of the research, but perhaps you will find them useful

  • Tag Based Sites - There are a lot of ocial news websites that are best to explored through the website instead of with an RSS feed. They are all user-generated content and you can search via tags (Coffee Starbucks McCafe etc). Check out Digg and Reddit.
  • Other Search Tools that I discuss but did not really use include Real-time Search and Meta-Search.

What if the site doesn't have RSS feeds?

Not all sites will have RSS feeds, in the event that they do not, you can use Change Notification Tools to stay connected to new information.

  • I used WatchThatPage to monitor pages that don't have an RSS feature-they track changes to the pages and then report them back to you through your method of choice. For instance, I used it to watch Starbucks News Release page. Here are examples of the page change notifications I received.
  • I also used Google Alerts, an email notification tool, extensively to track new information for queries such as [coffee industry], ["starbucks news"], [coffee shop, news] [coffee store, news] [mccafe] etc. Here are some email alerts I received.

All that text is boring me!

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Use Multimedia Resources to add some color to your research.

  • Conduct Image Search, the queries I found most useful were specific ones like [Starbucks], [McCafe] as opposed to general queries like [coffee industry].
  • Also conduct Video Searches. I really enjoyed using CompFight for image searches and Truveo for video. Video searches are not really relevant to this project despite the fact that you can watch news pertaining to the topic on there. This is due to the fact that reading information is much easier than having to listen to it.

Multimedia resources do not contribute much information, they are just a good way to make your presentation splashier.

Useful Tips

In any of the tools above, try using special search syntax. Although they are most applicable to general web search engines, sometimes they also work in other search engines discussed above.

Remember the Coffee Industry's Custom Search Engine can be found on the homepage. I have built it to get you started on continuing this project. It is a special search engine which will search through only the sites that I have inputed.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License