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How Outdated Is COVID Era Research?

This question has become more poignant as we exit the disruption of the COVID era into its aftermath on business statistics, research and information.
A crucial part of an independent information professional's role involves finding the most current research for our clients to base decisions on, as outdated data creates false impressions that can negatively impact an organization's performance.
COVID caused such extraordinary disruption that when I see a study from 2020 to 2023, I feel less confident using it for business decisions. In addition, the rapid change of adjusting to COVID has reduced the shelf life of studies that used to remain relevant for 5 to 10 years.
I'm not saying that research was bad. It served its purpose to help us understand the time we were in, but I don't rely on it now given the impacts of that era's shutdowns, lockdowns, social distancing, remote work, and the rare restrictions and opportunities they presented.
So, what do businesses need to take into consideration before making decisions today? This is how I believe business research should be approached now ...
1. RESEARCH PRE-COVID -- If a study, survey or other research was conducted before 2020, it feels as current as a dusty old book. It obviously doesn't include the impact COVID had and continues to have. To compensate, look for similar research since the second half of 2023.
2. RESEARCH FROM THE COVID ERA -- Research from 2020 to 2022 needs to be evaluated based on what similar research showed before COVID and from the second half of 2023 to the present. Trends will be skewed for many industries due to COVID so it's critical to analyze those studies with that understanding.
3. RESEARCH POST-COVID ERA -- I tend to trust research from the second half of 2023 to the present to give a better look at actual conditions today and what can be expected going forward as they provide a glimpse at COVID's impact and how permanent that impact will be.
With that said, I believe we won't have solid research to base decisions on until studies in 2025 that take into account a full year of our "new normal".
For help with finding updated, actionable research and information for business decision-making or Vendor Risk Assessments, contact me at 302-537-4198, or on our Contact form.

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