2: Components of Five-Star Sourcing

The purpose of this module is to teach you common Sourcing buzzwords, demonstrate how Sourcing should be formatted, share how to perfect your Sourcing process, and explain the importance of using primary sources.


SECTIONS
1. Sourcing Terminology 
2. Sourcing Formatting
3. Sourcing Methodology
4. Source Reliability


OBJECTIVES
1.  Become familiar with common sourcing terms and their operational definitions.
2.  Understand how all sourcing components fit together and how to format them.
3.  Learn the importance of a sourcing checklist for organizing the process and output.
4.  Know how to spot reliable sources and to differentiate between primary vs secondary.


Ready?  

Let's dive in! 

Sourcing Terminology

Introduction

Before we launch you into real-time Sourcing, you should get to know the lingo.  

After this module, you'll have a firm handle on the terms that the Sourcers use to discuss their craft.  

We have our very own glossary of Sourcing buzzwords, and we're pretty proud of it!

List of Terms

[ BOOLEAN SEARCH ] 

A type of search “allowing users to combine keywords with operators or modifiers such as AND, NOT and OR to further produce more relevant results.” (Webopedia definition)  Some examples are advanced search operators, x-ray searches, reverse lookup searches, etc.

[CLIENT UPDATE ]

Explains to the client where the Sourcer searched for the information and why they could not reasonably triangulate in any way shape or form. The Sourcer provides other helpful insights and suggests alternate routes of questioning which may be more fruitful.  The goal is for the clients to walk away convinced that if they spent a few hours doing the research themselves, they wouldn't be able to find the information either. Client updates should be used only when the information requested is not available and there is absolutely no way to triangulate it. Even if there is no way to triangulate the exact number, if you can triangulate a directionally relevant estimate, you should NOT be writing a client update. 


[CREDIBILITY ]

Presenting data in a believable and trustworthy way, giving the client confidence that the Sourcer arrived at an accurate answer.


[GUT CHECK ]

A list of quality control questions that helps Sourcers objectively assess the robustness and value of their research.


[INTERNAL DATABASE ]

A search tool that allows Sourcers to sift through every Wonder response ever sent and scan the sources used to answer the respective requests.  When Sources are assigned a request, there will be a search bar below the "Add Sources" section. After entering a keyword into the search box, a list of relevant sources from past research will pop up.  


[INTERPRET FORMAT ]

A template that allows request-writers to digest information from the client and break it into beautifully clear, incredibly specific, and perfectly in-scope requests -- crafted in a way analysts can easily understand and act on.

[PRE-RESEARCH ]

An initial, brief research phase that helps Sourcers become familiar with the basics of the request topic, allowing the analyst to formulate assumptions that sound knowledgeable and credible. 

[RECENCY ]

“Sources within the last 24 months. In some cases, recent data will not exist, so you’ll need to provide sources that are older than 2 years. If this is the case, you must directly address this in your source notes.

[RELEVANCE ]

Describes sources that support the client’s (stated or implied) goal, which address all aspects of the question, present data credibly, and are built on logical conclusions.

[RELIABILITY ]

Describes sources that “may be relied on or trusted; dependable in achievement, accuracy, honesty” (Dictionary.com definition)

[RESOURCE LIST]

Our researchers have compiled a huge list of go-to sources to find information fast. Filter by category and request type to find that golden database that answers the question just right.

[ROBUSTNESS ]

Describes sources that include sufficient data to allow a Writer to completely and thoroughly speak to the client's question with examples, calculations, and relevant information.


[SOURCE NOTE ]

Helps the Writer understand and find the key value (data, insight, fact, etc) of the source at a glance.  Source notes should help Writer locate that info, whether it's buried in the body of the text, tucked away in a bulleted list, or hidden in an infographic.  Ultimately, it's the Sourcer's job to highlight the key nugget of info, point to where it's found, and explain why it's relevant to the client's request.

[SUMMARY NOTE ]

Explains how the sources connect together to fully address the client's question and helps the Writer understand how to compose the answer. A summary note should include:    - A statement that directly answers the client’s question   - An overview of the logic used to arrive at conclusions    - An explanation of all assumptions and calculations    - An outline of the order in which the sources should appear in the response

[TRIANGULATION ]

If no pre-existing information exists, Sourcers can reasonably estimate the answer based on information that is available. Using this approach, Sourcers can triangulate a stat based on available information when the requested figure doesn't exist as a pre-compiled number on the public web.  In some cases, a Sourcer may need to get creative by using additional assumptions to make the triangulation work.  While more assumptions decrease the confidence of the estimate, that's ok.  Our goal is to get the most reasonable estimate and to explain the calculation in meticulous, stet-by-step detail.  If it’s done right, the client will be able to follow the logic and trust the credibility of the estimate. 

[WONDER RESOURCE CENTER] 

The Wonder Resource Center (WRC) is a one-stop shop for all the materials and tools Sourcers (and every other Wonder analyst) nee to be a successful Wonder analyst.

Sourcing Terminology: Review

Review

Ask yourself these questions to make sure you understand the Wonder Sourcing Terminology. 


If you can answer 'Yes' to all of them, go ahead and move on to the next section!


Have I spotted these terms in other Wonder educational material?

Do I understand the operational definition and Sourcing application of each term?

Do I have a firm grasp on these concepts such that I could explain them to a peer? 

Do I understand how each item fits into the overall Sourcing process?

Sourcing Formatting: Components of Sourcing

Introduction

The ultimate goal in formatting source notes and a summary note is to communicate thoroughly yet succinctly. 

Explain your methodology in extreme, obnoxious detail. Similarly, outline any calculations and assumptions with a clear, step-by-step walk through of your logic, leaving nothing open to assumption or misinterpretation. 


Repetition is key, yet so is brevity.  

Polished and clear communication is a key feature of stellar sourcing.  

It's all about presentation!

Source Formatting Main Components

⇨  Do the source notes highlight the location of key information within the source itself?

Each source note must help a Writer understand and find the key value (data, insight, fact, etc) of the source at a glance and explain how it answers the client's question.  

Source notes also need to help the Writer locate that info, whether it's buried in the body of the text, tucked away in a bulleted list, or hidden in an infographic.  

Ultimately, it's the Sourcer's job to highlight the key nugget of info, point to where it's found, and explain why it's relevant to the client's request. 

Don't forget to confirm that the source date is within the requisite two year timeframe.  

Bonus points for listing the date in your note!

⇨  Does the summary note clearly explain how all of the sources listed fit together?

Your summary note explains how the sources connect together to fully address the client's question and helps the Writer understand how to compose the answer. 

A summary note should include:  

1. A statement that directly answers the client’s question

2. An overview of the logic used to arrive at conclusions 

3. An explanation of any and all assumptions and calculations

4. An outline of the order in which the sources should appear in the response

Sourcing Formatting: Examples

What Good Sourcing Looks Like

Let's take a spin through the below examples to get a better feel for what Source Notes and Summary Notes should (and shouldn’t) look like on the next page!

Thumbs up for the good ones; thumbs down for the not-so-good ones.

Example A

[ EXAMPLE A ] 

"Please identify and analyze the main consumer (not corporate) themes showing up in media over the past year around food delivery services in the US such as GrubHub, UberEats, DoorDash, Postmates, Amazon Restaurants and Caviar."   


Source Note:

Jan 2017 -- This article is about food delivery apps showing up at airports. In the 2nd paragraph:  Airport Sherpa and AtYourGate will provide food and retail delivery to their customers' gates. Customers can order from their customers' gates. Customers can order from any terminal in the airport, meaning they can enjoy food from their favorite restaurant in a given airport no matter which airline they are flying. In the 4th paragraph:  The service is similar to delivery apps such as GrubHub and Postmates, to which many consumers have grown accustomed outside the confines of an airport. 11th paragraph: Air Sherpa is expected to do about 70% of its business in food, with the remainder coming from retail items.


Summary Note:

After searching corporate websites, industry reports, and media sites, I have uncovered the following main consumer driven themes around food delivery services.  In my source notes, I provided overviews of each theme appearing in the recent media and have included links to supporting articles.  I identified these as "main" themes because of the frequency with which they surfaced in credible, recent sources in the course of my research.  All sources dated within the past year. 1. Food delivery is growing and expanding with companies like McDonald's joining the bandwagon. This should incentivize more fast food outlets to follow if successful. (See source X) 2. Hotels will partner with these apps to offer guests (customers) more choice and better prices as room service is on the decline. (See source X)3. Groupon's strategic partnership shows that food delivery is extending into the Groupon bulk that food delivery is extending into the Groupon bulk business model of purchasing. (See source X) 4. Airports will provide travelers (consumers) with more choice of food options through food delivery apps. (See source X) 5. Surge pricing will be here to stay as force customers to shop around for the best deals or pay the premium on delivery during peak times. (See source X) 6. The industry will grow strongly and consumers are ordering non-traditional foods like hamburgers as they become more accustomed and comfortable with delivery services. (See source X) 7. Consumers might be willing to pay a premium for the service if the product is unique like a regional food dish. I have found themes evident in media coverage focusing on consumers for the client. (See source X) 


See next page for the assessment of this example!

Example A: Review

Assessment:  👍

Overall, this sourcing was clear, direct and answered the client's request explicitly. The source dates were relevant, the individual source notes pulled out key data and cited their location within each source, and the summary note outlined how the sources worked together to build a structured response.

Example B

[ EXAMPLE B ]

"How many residential General Contractors participate in residential construction trade shows in the USA, and how much do they pay?"


Source Note:

Comprehensive list that gives the number of attendees to 250 Top US trade shows in 2016. You need this to triangulate how many residential General Contractors are participating in the trade shows. Links to all the trade shows are included. This will probably be your primary source in figuring how many Contractors are attending the shows.


Summary Note:

The trade show database listings will give multiple sources to double-check your info for the number of total trade shows the Client needs. The "Top 100" and "Top 250" lists will narrow down the major trade shows and give the number of attendees, respectively, that the client needs. Both the trade show database listings and the "Top" lists have links to the trade shows so you can get the attendance price information that the Client needs. The IBISWorld market report and the SIC Code information will give you the number of residential General Contractors in the US the Client needs.


See next page for the assessment of this example!

Example B: Review

Assessment:  👎 


This sourcing did not address client's request for number of general contractors who participate in trade shows.  The source notes were way too generalized, leaving the writer to dig for the key data from each source and to find the data points necessary for making triangulations. The summary note was vague and ambiguous, lacking detail and direction for the writer.

Source Formatting: Review

Source Notes Review

⇨  Source Notes

Do I cite the source publication date to prove that the data is recent?

Do I list the key takeaway info and main point of the source?

Do I describe where inside the source the key info can be found?

Do I explain how the key info satisfies the request and answers the client's question?

Summary Note Review

⇨  Summary Note

Do I directly answer every nuance of the client's question?

Do I explain how the sources fit together to create a cohesive response? 

Do I describe which aspects of the request each source speaks to and in what order they should appear?Do I clearly explain the logic I used to come to my conclusions (calculations, triangulations, assumptions, criteria, etc)?

Do I illustrate any calculations or triangulations?

Could I replicate them and get the same answer?

Sourcing Methodology

Introduction

We can confidently say that most of our experienced analysts approach Sourcing with a tried-and-true strategy.  

Building a process can feel tedious and trivial at first, but with a peer-tested roadmap in hand, each step should become effortless over time!  

Below, we'll breakdown a checklist of some of these expert tips.

Sourcing Checklist

When you're Sourcing, it can be extremely helpful to work off of a checklist.

Here's one that some of our top Sourcers use, check it out and start thinking about how you would create your own! 

What would you add/change?


1.  WRAP YOUR MIND AROUND THE REQUEST.

 ❐  Read the request multiple times before anything else.  This includes any vetting notes or client response to previous research (redo request, etc). 

 ❐  As you digest the request,  envision and literally write out what you think the ideal answer will look like.  Leave blanks for variables and data points that you’ll fill in through your research.

❐  Think about the types of sources that would satisfy the question and help you build that response.  Make a list of possible go-to sources before you start.


2.  MAKE YOUR PLAN OF ATTACK.  

❐  Create a list of the research requirements and key criteria.

❐  Draft an outline for the final response, which will help guide your search strategy and organize your approach.

❐  Keep track of the strategies and resources you used for each sourcing request you work on.


3.  JUMP INTO PRE-RESEARCH.

❐  Start with background research before deep-diving to educate yourself on the topic. 

 ❐  Use the following tools: Wonder Internal Database https://bit.ly/2yYMJSg, Resource List https://bit.ly/2gWUugS, Custom Google Search Engines http://bit.ly/2xctG2c

 ❐  Use the pre-research to become familiar with the basics of the request topic so that you can formulate assumptions that sound knowledgeable and credible. 


4.  TAILOR YOUR SEARCH STRATEGY

.❐  Draft search string variations.  Try to approach a request from as many different linguistic angles as possible.

❐  Restrict dates using the Google search engine filter.  (Tools >> Custom Range)

❐  Use the following tools:  Wonder Internal Database http://bit.ly/2yYMJSg, Resource List http://bit.ly/2gWUugS, Custom Google Search Engines http://bit.ly/2xctG2c, Google Xray search, reverse lookups, reverse image search, etc.

❐  Don’t rely only on Google search alone.  Consider the following reliable sources: Crunchbase, Hoovers, Owler, Wolfram Alpha, Zoomph, Klear, SimilarWeb, US Census, American Factfinder, Statista

.❐  Bookmark secondary sources to reference later if needed.


5.  EVALUATE YOUR SOURCES.

❐  Make sure that sources are dated within the last 24 months. In some cases, recent data will not exist, so you’ll need to provide sources that are older than 2 years. If this is the case, you must directly address this in your source notes

❐  Make sure that sources support the client’s (stated or implied) goals, address all aspects of the question, present data credibly, and are built on logical conclusions.

❐  Evaluate which sources are primary and which are secondary. Be sure that the vast majority are primary.  Confirm that all are reliable and credible.

❐  Double check that sources contain all the necessary data points for making calculations in the Summary Note.   


6.  EVALUATE YOUR NOTES. 

❐  Number each source. In the summary note, refer to sources by number.

❐  Identify the source publication date.

❐  Include quotation marks for direct quotes. 

 ❐  Compare your “ideal response” to the actual response that you’ve formulated.

❐  Proofread! While Sourcers aren't graded for grammar, well-written notes go a long way.

Sourcing Methodology: Review

Review

Make sure you can answer 'Yes' to each of these 

questions before going on to the next section!


Have I spotted these tips in other Wonder educational material?

Do I understand the importance of each step?

Do I understand how each item fits into the overall Sourcing process?

Do I have a firm grasp on these concepts such that I could explain them to a peer?

Source Reliability

Introduction

⇨  The Difference Between Primary vs Secondary Sources

Wonder’s policy is to aim for total originality of content in its sources.  


Whenever possible, you should use a primary source instead of a secondary source.

Check out the rest of this section to learn all about primary vs. secondary sources!

Primary Sources

WHAT IS A PRIMARY SOURCE?

Primary sources present firsthand, direct, or new data about a person, event or topic, while secondary sources are a step removed from the subject and discuss the info found in primary sources.  They “interpret, comment upon, analyze, evaluate, summarize, and process” that firsthand account.  In contrast, primary sources offer the “original materials on which other research is based.”

EXAMPLES OF PRIMARY SOURCES:

Autobiographies and memoirs

Diaries, personal letters, and correspondence

Interviews, surveys, and fieldwork

Internet communications on email, blogs, listservs, and newsgroups

Books, magazine and newspaper articles and ads published at the time

Public opinion polls

Speeches and oral histories

Original documents (birth certificates, property deeds, trial transcripts)

Research data, such as census statistics

Official and unofficial records of organizations and government agencies

Government documents (reports, bills, proclamations, hearings, etc.)

Patents

Technical reports

Scientific journal articles reporting experimental research results

Secondary Sources

WHAT IS A SECONDARY SOURCE?

Secondary sources aren’t intrinsically unreliable, but research should be based mainly on primary sources to establish credibility and to ensure accurate data.  Again, there’s no hard and fast case against secondary sources, but they should be used sparingly and with great discretion.  Remember that secondary source can be used if needed, but the onus is on the Sourcer to carefully review them for accuracy before citing them.  At the end of the day, primary sources are intrinsically more reliable.

EXAMPLES OF SECONDARY SOURCES

Bibliographies

Biographical works

Reference books, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases

Articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers after the event

Literature reviews and review articles (e.g., movie reviews, book reviews)

History books and other popular or scholarly books

Works of criticism and interpretation

Commentaries and treatises

Textbooks

Indexes and abstracts

Pro Tip

Sometimes a completely unreliable source can turn out to be a gold mine.


Here’s a tip from one of our top Sourcers, Emily:

"While Wonder has banned Sources from citing from citing Wikipedia articles in research, it is a great place for learning more about unfamiliar topics and can serve as a launchpad for gleaning related keywords and vocabulary."

Best of all, the References section at the end of each article often contains a ton of credible primary and secondary sources. 


It takes a bit of digging, but it can be really educational. 

*Note:  Definitions and direct quotes borrowed from Santiago Canyon College http://bit.ly/2zFlB84

Source Reliability: Examples

What Reliable Sources Look Like

Starting to get the picture?  

Let’s take a minute to skim the sources on the next page and identify each as either primary or secondary.

Examples

What are the Best Algorithms MOOCS? 

http://bit.ly/2zs4Xb3 

This is a secondary source.  Quora is a crowdsourced information platform in which anyone can ask a question and anyone can answer.  This site can't be relied on to produce accurate data since there's no quality control mechanism to distinguish opinion from fact.


Floyd Mayweather Biography  http://bit.ly/2isAJBj

 This is a secondary source.  Biography.com touts itself as "the digital source for true stories about people that matter."  The site specializes in accounts of real people and events, and while the stories are secondhand, it can be considered reliable.

Cancer 2015-2017 Technical Report

http://bit.ly/2hV4J4U

This is a primary source.  A technical report is a reliable "document written by a researcher detailing the results of a project and submitted to the sponsor of that project." 


Chris Hayes on the Race-based History of America’s Carceral State

http://bit.ly/2nHtHdl

This is a secondary source.  It's a commentary of a literary work, and if used for a relevant purpose, it can be considered reliable.


Trump’s 2017 U.N. Speech Transcript  http://politi.co/2xg1pc2

This is a primary source.  The transcript is the full text version of the President's comments and can be considered reliable, firsthand documentation of the event.

Source Reliability: Review

Review

Make sure to read through each of these questions and make sure you can answer 'Yes' to each one!

Is the data authentic or secondhand?

Is the source a direct report of original content or an analysis/commentary?


How’s your instinct?

Hone your ability to spot reliable sources by browsing:

1. This list of 5-star research http://bit.ly/2yH1dom 

2. The "Rated 5-Stars" tab on the community dashboard http://bit.ly/2iqjtwL.

Sourcing Terminology: Quiz

Quiz Time!

Now that you’re familiar with the most commonly-used Sourcing terms, it’s time to test your vocabulary.  

Take a look at the list of terms terms on the next page.

For each item, provide a conversational definition for each term as it relates to Wonder Sourcing.

Define Source Note:

Define pre-research:

Define Summary Note:

As long as a Sourcer provides sufficient data points for triangulation, he/she doesn't need to explain every single step of the calculation to the Writer.

  • True
  • False

What can you use the Wonder Resource Center for?

Source Formatting: Quiz

Quiz Time!

Check out the sample Sourcing notes and Summary notes below.  

For each, determine whether or not the note is acceptable, explaining your logic in 1-2 sentences.  

Use the previous “review” lists to help determine whether they are formatted clearly and strategically. 

Go ahead -- impress us with your brilliance!

Summary Note Review

Summary Note:  

"In the first infographic, Source 1 states that through the years 2017-2021, the Heavy Manufacturing industry is expected to grow a 5.3% CAGR.  Source 2 confirms this stat in paragraph 4.  This directly answers the client's question and can be used as the main point of the FINDINGS section.  Source 3 provides contextual background information on market history, and Sources 4 and 5 provide data on market leaders and prevalent market trends.  These can be used as supplemental data in an OVERVIEW section.  See individual source notes below for more granular data points."

  • Acceptable Summary Note
  • Unacceptable Summary Note

Explain your reasoning for the above answer.

Source Note Review

Source Note:  

"This recent article (June 2017) discusses the pros and cons of hiring directly into a company or partnering with an external agency for UX work."

  • Acceptable Source Note
  • Unacceptable Source Note

Explain your reasoning for the above answer:

Source Note Review

Source Note: 

"This source is dated Sep 2016.  Key info is found in paragraph 3:  By incorporating metrics into wearables that directly measure clinical improvement, healthcare providers have an unprecedented opportunity to speed up the course of action and reduce the cumbersome cycle of disease management.  This information can be used to support the "Technology and IoT" trend to answer the clients request for a list of top trends in the US Chronic Disease Management market."

  • Acceptable Source Note
  • Unacceptable Source Note

Explain your reasoning for the above answer:

Sourcing Methodology: Quiz

Quiz Time!

Time to put what you’ve learned into practice!  

Take a look at the abbreviated sourcing checklist below.  

Use 2-3 sentences to describe these final four steps, providing context for the overall Sourcing process.

Jump into pre-reseach:

Tailor your search strategy:

Evaluate your notes:

Evaluate your sources:

Before pre-researching, it's important to:

  • Read the full request details several times.
  • Imagine and write out what the ideal answer.
  • Bookmark secondary sources to reference later.
  • Create a list of the research requirements and key criteria.
  • Evaluate which sources are primary and which are secondary.

Make an outline for the final response after you've thoroughly researched the client request.

  • True
  • False

It's generally a best practice to rely mainly on Google search for gathering data.

  • True
  • False

Source Reliability: Quiz

Quiz Time!

Bill O’Reilly Inadvertently Makes Case Against Columbus http://bit.ly/2xtMzlt

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Reliable or unreliable? Explain your reasoning.

S.1804 - Medicare for All Act of 2017 http://bit.ly/2l6llLZ

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Reliable or unreliable? Explain your reasoning.

Women’s Rights In Saudi Arabia http://bit.ly/2y0SLjW

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Reliable or unreliable? Explain your reasoning.

The 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey http://bit.ly/2kZKxz6

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Reliable or unreliable? Explain your reasoning.

Success

Module Success Code: is