Methods for making good search queries

There is a short version of this article: Good search queries cheat sheet.

You can also watch the video below, from our course Tech Discovery for Innovators:

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15:42
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General

In Mergeflow it's almost always better if you don't make your search query too specific. You can always narrow down later.

Rather than getting too specific, use the way Mergeflow organizes the results (e.g. venture capital vs. scientific publications vs. blogs) and metadata (e.g. company names, market segments, emerging technologies) to zoom in on more specific aspects of your topic.

Also, you should keep in mind that searching is not about what you want to find. It's about where and how other people most likely talk about what you want to find.

For example, if you're interested in energy scavenging but people call it power harvesting, you will get more and better results if you search for power harvesting than if you search for energy scavenging.

Outside Mergeflow

These are methods and resources you can use independent of Mergeflow.

Generalize

For example, instead of deep reinforcement learning, search for machine learning.

Application

For example, rather than high-throughput screening, search for drug discovery.

Property

For example, rather than aluminum alloy (or aluminium alloy), search for light-weight. You can use emerging technologies or patent classes (see using patent classes for concept search) to zoom in on specific applications, for example "aircraft" or "compounds".

Inside Mergeflow

These are features in Mergeflow that you can use to redirect or refine your search.

Emerging technologies

After doing a more general search, look at "emerging technologies" tag clouds and select those that you find interesting.

Patent classes

This is similar to emerging technologies (use patent class tag clouds and select classes that you find interesting).

What's particular about patent classes is that they have a hierarchical structure. For example, B64C in the CPC code refers to aeroplanes, helicopters. But B64 (without the "C") refers to aircraft, aviation, and cosmonautics more generally.

In Mergeflow, you can search more specifically for B64C, like this...

search Mergeflow for B64C

...or you can use wildcards in patent class searches, like this:

search Mergeflow for B64

As described in our article on using patent classes in Mergeflow, the results include non-patents as well because Mergeflow's analytics also tag these contents with patent classes.

Context markets

Context markets in Mergeflow are relevant in the context of your search, even though their market segment name does not contain your search query directly. For example, when you search for smart city, markets like "5G technologies" or "blockchain IoT" show up in your results. You can use this information to inform your next searches.

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