I am constantly researching and I don’t even realize it. It is truly amazing how much research impacts decision making, and the simple choices we make every day.
Wernher von Braun: “Basic research is what I am doing when I don’t know what I am doing.”
Faced With An Important Decision? Research Impacts Decision Making
Yesterday, I came home from a run around the lake and the after-work-out hunger hit me like a brick. I had no motivation to spend 40 minutes cooking a meal, so I went online to find out what places delivered around the area and picked one with decent ratings. After a shower, I went on Netflix and picked out a new comedy movie I hadn’t seen before. After the movie ended, and after buying a new cell phone case online, I felt satisfied with my night and went to bed.
The truth is, I’m constantly researching before almost every decision I make without even realizing it. That’s true of almost everybody. When I was looking for food to be delivered, I went online and searched for ratings from reliable sources– the consumers themselves. When it was time to pick a movie to watch, I looked at the ratings that viewers had given to determine if I should give it a shot or not. As for buying a new cell phone case? Well, how many of you have purchased something online without at least glancing at the product/seller ratings?
We live in a great time for technology, where customer reviews are plentiful and information is easily accessible. You can research cities for crime, employees for previous work, and proof that certain mythological creatures still exist (note to self: sometimes sources can’t be completely trusted). When you make a decision, there should be research supporting it. The source, amount, and specificity of research really only depends on how important your decision is.
I’ll give you an example. My Jeep died two years ago so I had to buy another used car. Unless you know enough about cars to make a competent purchase, which, if you’re like me, you don’t, you’re going to want to spend some time researching makes and models. When I was looking for my next vehicle, I spent a few days pouring over reviews, claims, repairs, and everything I could find. I wanted to make sure I didn’t spend a lot of money (which I didn’t have), on something that might not pan out. When there’s a big decision to be made, there should be a large amount of research done to help make the best decision.
It’s important to go to the right resources as well. It would have been silly for me to simply read the vehicle description the seller had posted on the website and base my decision on that. I needed to find trusted reviews, real defects, and actual facts that I could lean on when making my decision. If you choose your research sources carelessly, you’re probably just wasting your time.
My research was specifically tailored to the type of vehicle I wanted. I needed to research SUVs, not different car companies. Reviews about Chevy are going to tell me a lot of information about the company, but nothing about their Trail Blazers. I needed to be sure that my information was specific to exactly what I was looking to learn about, otherwise I would have just been wasting time.
The amount of time, sources, and specificity of your research means everything when you’re making a big decision. Planning a honeymoon? You really, really, really need to research that for a while, from the right sources, and specific to what you (and, more importantly, your spouse) are looking for. Need to stop for gas? Your research should basically only consist of finding a gas station and making sure it looks like it sells gas. It’s all relative to the importance of the decision.
This is why successful companies use research. Every decision you make in business can create a ripple or a tidal wave. You should be certain the research is done before you decide whether to rebrand one of your products or create a new email campaign. You never know what particular decision could make or break the future of your company. Whenever important decisions are to be made, my suggestion is to take the time to look at it from every angle, and, most importantly, do your research; research impacts decision making.