Frequently Asked Questions
(Click here to send us your questions. All inquiries are kept confidential).
What kinds of topics do you research?
We find information on virtually any subject. For examples click here.
The only topics we don't handle are those requiring highly specialized knowledge. An attorney should locate case law and a genealogist should find information for a family tree. A professional researcher is the best choice for most other topics.
At what phase of a book or project do clients contact you?
Some clients ask for help at a project's inception, to determine the feasibility of a new idea, to develop that idea, or to write a proposal. Others seek help with various topics throughout the writing phase. Others need facts checked towards completion of the project. Many use our services during all these phases.
What is your research process?
All research is conducted by or supervised by Daniel Starer. Before starting a research project, Starer interviews you by telephone to fully understand your needs, determine what materials you may already own, and prioritize what’s really important. He may suggest additional or alternative research topics or approaches that answer your needs more precisely than your original questions.
Most research begins with a search of the thousands of professional online databases we access, plus Internet sites we deem reliable. In some cases, we find all the information a client needs online. In other cases, research continues using the extensive collections of the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, as well as special-subject libraries.
For some projects, the best sources of information are experts such as professionals, government officials, scientists, professors, historians, doctors, eyewitnesses to a particular event, or residents of a specific place. We have longstanding contacts with specialists in numerous fields and with researchers worldwide.
What does the client receive?
Most information is delivered as computer printouts and photocopies of carefully selected articles and book chapters, with key sections highlighted to save you time. For some projects, we purchase current books, out-of-print books, maps, photographs, videotapes, historic newspapers, government documents, business reports, conference proceedings, and other materials.
If your project requires short answers to specific questions, we write a report answering them point-by-point. If we conduct interviews with experts on a topic, we provide a typed transcript. Should you prefer to speak directly with an expert, we arrange a telephone or in-person interview for you.
Can I rely on the information I receive?
Our job is not only to find information but to evaluate it. Of all the available information on a topic, we provide perhaps the 1% to 10% that best answers your questions. Dan Starer reviews these materials for reliability, bias, and suitability.
We evaluate all information whether it comes from online searching, library research, or interviews with experts. Because the Internet overflows with junk information, we rely more heavily on professional online databases from major vendors such as Dialog and Nexis. Researchers have trusted these databases for years.
When performing library research, our 20 years of experience help us choose the most dependable sources and most relevant materials. When interviewing experts, we always provide their credentials and telephone numbers should you wish to ask follow-up questions.
How do you maintain confidentiality for your clients?
It is our policy never to discuss the details of a client’s work without permission. Some clients prefer it not be known that they hire a researcher. We respect that wish. Although rarely asked, we happily sign nondisclosure agreements.
If we conduct or arrange a paid interview with an expert, we can require him or her to sign our standard consulting agreement to maintain confidentiality.
We take the secrecy of your ideas as seriously as do you. No client has ever complained of a breach.
How much do you charge?
We bill on an hourly basis, plus expenses at cost. If you have a specific research project in mind, please contact us for a price quote.