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The Facts Aren’t Enough

The cheetah’s success as a hunter comes not only from its speed, but also it’s agility. The AREA Method uses a cheetah-like process to help you research and make high-stakes decisions in an uncertain world.

The AREA Method improves the research and decision making process in two important ways.

First it is a perspective-taking process that guides you to hunt down information one perspective at a time to heighten your awareness to your mental shortcuts, biases and judgments that inhibit clear-thinking and to better assess the incentives of other information providers.

Second, cheetah-like pauses are built into the process to encourage you to chunk your learning and create a trail of your thinking before moving forward.

cheryls-note-graphic-yellowThe AREA Method improves the hunt for good answers in both our professional and personal lives. It works for anyone who needs to solve a big problem. It might be used by a journalist conducting an investigation, a small business owner wanting to expand her business, or a student trying to decide whether to pay for graduate school. Any decision where you need to get a good answer by knowing you’ve conducted a thorough and well-thought out research process, the AREA Method can make your work work for you.

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The AREA Method research process gets its name from the perspectives that it addresses: Absolute, Relative, Exploration & Exploitation and Analysis.


A, or Absolute, refers to the perspective of the research target. It is primary, uninfluenced information from the source itself.


R, or Relative, refers to the perspective of outsiders around the target. It is secondary information, or information that has been filtered through sources connected to the target.


E, or Exploration and Exploitation, are really about the human mind. Exploration is about listening to what other people think and believe. Exploitation is about listening to your self and examining your own assumptions and judgment.


The second A, or Analysis, synthesizes all of these perspectives, processing and interpreting the information you’ve collected. Each of these steps will be explained in detail in the chapters that follow.

The AREA Method Offers:


A straightforward easy-to-follow roadmap that covers and explains the elements of a comprehensive research process.


Tools to create a flexible and objective framework for evaluating the information encountered in the research process.


Useful sources for collecting information that follow a logical progression and stress agility, originality and accuracy over speed.


Robust processes and tools that will filter cognitive biases and allow you to recognize the incentives and judgments of others.

    Cheryl Einhorn is a media consultant, award-winning journalist covering business, economic and financial news and a long-time educator as an adjunct professor at both the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and most recently at the Columbia Business School. For more information about Cheryl and her consultancy practice, visit

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