How I research

One clip. Four min.

Let’s take the topic of Persuasion: How do Americans, how do Germans persuade? In other words, what is necessary to persuade Americans, to persuade Germans?

Step 1 – Identify
We identify those sources (areas, situations, examples) in the two cultures where the approach to persuasion is taught, explained, practiced.

These sources must: a.) Be indicative – widespread, typical, reflective – of the respective culture; b.) Provide sufficient evidence – information – which can be gathered and analyzed. Such as:

Education: Kindergarten, grammar school, high school, university. Business: Corporate-internal training on presentation, rhetoric.

Advertising: Physical products and services in print, web, television. Politics: Party organizations, political consultants. Church: Training of priests and ministers in giving sermons. Sales: Books, seminars, training organizations about sales.

Academics: Publications by universities. How-to: Advice books written for broad audiences. Words: Definitions i.e. überzeugen vs. überreden. FoS: Figures of speech. Statistics: Number of books about the topic. Other: i.e. structure or curriculum vitae, approach to job interviews.

Step 2 – Gather
We gather the evidence. Remove what is not helpful. Sort the rest in the order to be analyzed.

Step 3 – Analyze
We analyze the evidence carefully, looking for patterns of thinking within each of the two respective cultures, separate from each other. We do not look for commonalities which the two cultures share.

Step 4 – Describe
We describe in precise, concise and clear language what those individual patterns are. For example: The Germans separate message from messenger. The presenter consciously and purposely moves into the background so that the content can take center stage. Arguments should speak for themselves.

Americans, in contrast, link message and messenger. Message-content, -form and -presenter should form a unity. Americans say “sell yourself first, then your product or service.” The presenter takes center stage.

Step 5 – Prove
We describe in precise, concise and clear language the various pieces of evidence (examples) which make up the patterns.

Step 6 – Critique
We ask Americans and Germans with experience collaborating cross-Atlantic to critique the results from Steps 4 and 5. These are real-world practitioners who either verify or challenge our research-based content.

Step 7 – Refine
We continually refine the analysis from Steps 4 and 5 by listening carefully to our customers. This is an ongoing dialogue, a process of constant refinement.

Step 8 – Re-search
Research means re-searching. We continually research the topic. The search for understanding never ends. The goal is the pursuit of truth, which necessarily means the exposure of untruths.