The Internet is a vast source of information of varying degrees of quality and accuracy that is constantly changing. Internet information is created by many different groups-individuals, academic institutions, newspapers, activists, government departments and agencies, politicians, businesses, associations, non-profits, church groups, schools, and so on-and is used for all kinds of purposes.
Some people create websites to inform or educate, others use the Internet to sell products or services, and still others want to present viewpoints, store data they have collected about a topic, or even to annoy or harass. The quality of information on the Internet ranges from excellent to extremely poor, as do the “search engines” used to locate this information (well-known examples include Google, Yahoo, Lexus/Nexus, Bing, Ask.com, to name a few).
Market Street uses the Internet extensively as a tool for:
- Accessing important data bases, such as the U.S. Census
- Tracking general industry trends
- Identifying competitors
- Generating statistics about a geographic area or market
- Surveying populations that can be reached via the Internet
Our goal is to use the Internet to find information that can be corroborated, is accurate, credible, and reasonable, and is useful given our clients’ needs. We often use the Internet to check facts about a geographic area or to compare our survey results with those conducted by others (such as the government or media organizations).
We have access to a broad range of both public and commercial data bases, and we maintain close ties to libraries and colleges located in the Pioneer Valley region of Western Massachusetts that subscribe to or maintain data bases that are not available to the general public.
For a sensible and thoughtful overview of how to evaluate Internet and World Wide Web resources used to generate good quality market information, we recommend the State University of New York at Albany’s library reference located at:
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