GOOGLE ANSWERS RESEARCHER TRAINING MANUAL
|I. ADMINISTRATIVE DETAILS
- Update your profile: Keep your profile information up-to-date,
especially your "My Researcher Information" under
the "My Profile" tab in your Google
Answers account. The information listed here relates to the mailing
address where your payments are to be sent. Researchers will receive
email requesting their social security number when their balance reaches
$600 in order to comply with U.S. tax laws. This email will explain how you
can enter this information securely
at the appropriate time. Please be extra careful to regularly update
your personal information on file with us. Without your current
information, we will not be able to deliver your payment to you. It is
your responsibility to keep your address current in our records.
- Stay current: Regularly read the Researcher Terms and Conditions
and Researcher Guidelines in the Researcher Center to stay current on
changes. Also read through the Google Answers site on a regular basis to
on the latest policies and procedures. Finally, please also read
the biweekly newsletters that get emailed to you.
- Payment: Currently, you will be paid monthly if you have
earned more than $50 USD by the end of each month. If you have not
earned more than $50 USD by the end of the month, but have earned
more than $25 USD in a given quarter, you will be sent a check for
that amount at the end of the quarter. Your check will be mailed
to the address in our records and will be sent by first class
mail. Please allow 3-4 weeks in the US and 6-8 weeks outside the
US for the payment to reach you. Please note that you are paid 50%
of the question price for answers that are refunded or reposted to the
customer, and your invoice and paycheck will reflect these
- Contact Us: Contact us by email at
with any questions.
Q: How do I get started?
A: To start answering questions:
Log into your Google Answers account and click on the
"My Account" link at the top of the screen.
From the "My Account" page, click on the
"Researcher Center" tab, select "Questions Needing An
Answer" from the pull-down menu, and click "Go".
Choose a question that you may want to answer from the list by
clicking on it in "Subject of Question" column. This provides
you with the full text of the question.
If you want to answer this question, click on the
"Answer Question" button to open the answer field and to lock
the question. Once the question is locked, you will have four hours to post
an answer for questions less than $100 and eight hours for questions $100
or more. During this time, only you will be able to post an answer for the
question you have locked. Now begin answering the
question. We recommend creating your answer in a separate document (e.g.
in Microsoft Word or Notepad) in case your Internet connection goes down.
When you are done with your answer, click the
"Post Answer" button to submit your answer.
Q: How do I clarify a question?
A: To clarify a question, first log in. Select the question you wish to
clarify. Click on the "Request Question Clarification" button at
the top of the question header, and enter your text in the box provided.
Q: How do I sort questions?
A: To sort questions by price or expiration date, click on the
"Price" or "Expires in" column headers in the
Q: How do I lock a question?
A: To lock a question, select an unanswered question, and click on
the "Answer Question" button. Questions priced under $100 are
locked for 4 hours. Questions priced $100 or above can be locked for up to
8 hours. To remove the lock, click the "Cancel" button. If you
decide not to answer the question, you should cancel the lock before trying
to lock another question. Remember, your lock on a question will
expire after four hours, if it is priced less than $100. If the question
is $100 or more your lock will last for eight hours.
Q: What happens when I lock a question?
A: By locking a question, you exclude other Researchers from
answering it and other users from commenting on it while you work on
it. However, the asker of the question can post clarifications to
the question, so please occasionally refresh your browser window
when working on an answer to see if the asker has posted additional
material for you. When you lock a question, you agree to abide by
the current Researcher Guidelines. It is your responsibility to stay
up to date on the most current Researcher Guidelines and other
Researcher materials, which are always available in the Researcher
Q: Can I lock more than one question at a time?
A: The Google Answers system currently allows you to lock two
questions at any given time. However, we strongly encourage
Researchers to lock and work on only one question at a time out of
fairness to other Researchers who also wish to work on
questions. There may be special circumstances that justify locking
more than one question at a time. For example, if a Researcher is
waiting on a return phone call about one question and wishes to work
on another one in the meantime, this would be an acceptable reason
for locking two questions. However, we do consider regular locking
of more than one question at a time without a legitimate reason to
be unfair and a potential abuse of the system, and it may result in
a loss of Researcher privileges.
Q: How do I find questions that need answers?
A: Log in, click on the "My Account" link at the top of the page,
then click on the "Researcher Center" tab. Select "Questions
Needing An Answer" from the pull-down menu, and click "Go".
Q: Can I sort by questions that I have requested a clarification for?
A: Currently, this feature does not exist. You can retrieve the
questions you have answered or the questions that still need an answer.
Q: How do I know when my request for clarification has been answered?
A: Researchers will receive email notification when their request for
clarification has been answered. You will only receive these notifications
if you have set your preferences to receive email.
Q: Can I revise my answer after I post it?
A: You cannot edit an answer after you post it, but you can add a
clarification to it. To add a clarification, go to the "Researcher
Center", select "All Answers I Have Worked On" from the
pull-down menu, and click "Go". Click on the question you want to
clarify and then click the "Clarify Answer" button. Enter your text,
and then click on "Post Clarification".
Q: How will I know when someone rates my answer?
A: In the Researcher Center, select "All Answers I Have Worked On"
from the pull-down Menu and then click "Go". You will see your
ratings in the "Status" column of the question table. Currently,
there is no way to view only those answers that have been rated.
Q: How will I know when someone comments on my answer?
A: Currently, you have to check your questions regularly to see if there are
any new comments.
Q: How will I know when someone asks me to clarify my answer?
A: In the Researcher Center, select "All Answers I Have Worked On"
from the pull-down menu, and click "Go". You will see a
"Needs Attention" link in the Status column of the question
table for all questions for which a clarification request has been posted.
For additional information on Frequently Asked Questions, please
Researcher Guidelines and FAQ. Also, please check this document
regularly as we will be revising it to include answers to the
questions we are most frequently asked. Thanks for your patience and
help in improving Google Answers. If you have feedback or
suggestions for the Researcher Training Manual, please write to:
Researchers should follow the format below when answering questions. This
format is intended to provide a standardized response guideline to ensure
that the customer receives information in 3 areas: researched answer,
helpful links and search strategy. Currently this format also includes
recommended greetings and closings; these are intended to formalize and
standardize answers. We strongly recommend these format guidelines as they
promote a professional and friendly environment and have proved to result
in the most highly rated answers.
Suggested Greeting. Greetings may vary from: "Hi John!" to
"Dear John," to no greeting at all, if you prefer.
Answer. Begin with a brief summary of your answer or an
introduction to the topic including any explanatory remarks. Follow with the
detailed text of your answer including quotes and referenced text from other
sources. End with additional links to supporting materials (graphs, tables,
photos, maps, articles etc.)
Additional Links. Links to additional information or related topics,
as appropriate. Each link should be prefaced by a brief description
Search Strategy. List of useful and effective search terms
or methods used. We also suggest that you provide the URL generated
for the actual Google search page (cut and paste the URL you get).
Suggested Closing Remarks.
Write a brief and friendly closing remark (e.g. "Good luck in your
searching!" or "Hope this helps!" - the goal is to be
friendly and personable.) We recommend that you do NOT sign your name.
You may then "sign" your answer with your Answers nickname, or
nothing at all.
Note: carets "< , >" are where text should be inserted.
( skip one line )
( skip two lines )
( skip one line )
<Title/Description of Link> (always place links
on separate lines)
<Title/Description of Link>
( skip two lines )
( skip one line )
<search term used>
<search term used>  (place each search term on a
- When creating a list use either dashes "-" or numbers
"1." Do not use bullets.
- Do not use auto-formatting (bullets, numbering, indenting) in
Microsoft Word. These automated actions do not always transfer into other
- Do not use html code in your answers.
- When inserting a link, and using brackets or parentheses around the
inserted link, please make sure to leave a space between the
bracket/parenthesis and the link. For example, ( http://answers.google.com ).
These guidelines are intended to provide information on research
documentation and recommended answer style. According to the Google Answers
Researcher Guidelines at
all material quoted or referenced must be cited. Below are Google's generic
guidelines on citing various web and print documents.
Detailed information on standard citation guidelines can be found in
Online! A reference guide to using Internet sources. By Andrew
Harnack and Eugene Kleppinger. Published by Bedford / St. Martin's (©2001).
The Online Citation Styles Index is at:
For detailed information on punctuation, we recommend:
Note: Always include the "http://" at the beginning of an
Name of Website / Source
The San Francisco Zoo
|List Server Message
Author's Name (or screen name or e-mail), "Subject of
Identification as online posting, (Posting date).
Name of Listserv / Source. Use angle brackets "<>"
for listserv address.
*Indicate if registration is required to access the newsgroup
Pjohnson, "The night when Buffy and Angel met" (Comment).
Online Posting (April 2, 2002). Buffy the Vampire Slayer ListServ
hosted by Planetx.
|Documents accessed by Telnet,
FTP, and gopher sites
Name of Author, Agency or File. (Date of publication). Title of
- Telnet address with directions for accessing document.
- Complete FTP address
- Gopher address with directions for accessing document
Environmental Protection Agency (1990). About the Clean Air Act (CAA)
Retrieved from FedWorld Information Network:
telnet fedworld.gov go Regulatory Agencies
everest2.gif (April 4,1993). Image of Mt. Everest.
History and anthropology: Convergence and divergence by J. Goody
Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnology, 75 (2). Academia Sinica, 75.
Name of Book by Author. Publisher (Date of Publication).
Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays, by David Sedaris. Little,
Brown & Company (May 1995).
"Title of Article," by Author. Magazine Name, (Date of
"Spring Fashion Trends 2002," by Hal Rubenstein and Cindy
InStyle (April 2002).
Common Questions Regarding Citation:
How should I format quotations directly from a website?
When quoting directly from a website, first preface the quote with a brief
description and then close with a colon. At the end of the quote, follow
the appropriate citation guidelines.
The following excerpt describes the benefits of painting tree trunks white:
"Paint [tree] trunks white to minimize winter sunscald damage. The
white surface reflects winter sunrays, which can warm the bark and make it
more susceptible to freezing temperatures…Smooth-barked trees are usually
more sensitive to sunscald. Use latex, not oil-based, paint, and cover up
the lower limbs."
"Take Steps Now for Productive Fruit Trees Next Year" by Tony
Bratsch. University of Illinois, Urban Programs Resource Network, Press
Release Dec. 7, 2000.
Note: There are two common punctuation formats used for inserting quotes.
Ellipses (…) are used to denote missing or skipped text. Brackets
[…] are used
to denote words inserted by the Researcher to clarify the text of a quote.
Samples included in text above.
Inserting a link in the text:
Sometimes inserting a referential link into the text of your answer
is helpful. In these
cases, if you wish to add website information, you can insert it in
parentheses. Please leave a space around the link within the parentheses.
If you are interested in visiting the San Francisco Zoo
you can either take the bus or the train.
Listing single or multiple links:
For a single link in your researched answer, preface the link with a brief
description, then follow it with the complete link. When listing links (as
in the additional links section), precede the group of links by a brief
description of what follows. Then precede each link by a title or brief
description, then on the following
line, list the link.
Single Link Example:
For more information read:
Review of hip-hop, 3rd paragraph about Xzibit
Multiple Link Example:
For more information on the author, Arnold Lobel, visit:
Meet the author by Houghton Mifflin
Educational Paperback Associate Biography of Arnold Lobel
Google recommends that answers be written with three core principles in
Accurate and comprehensive
Clear and concise
Professional and friendly
Accurate and comprehensive
You should try to deliver the most comprehensive and accurate answer that
you can. Make sure that you not only address every point of the user's
question, but that you try to address every angle of it as well.
Things to think about:
Clear and concise
- If something seems too easy, maybe you've missed the point. Users
sometimes know the easy answer (e.g. "The product was never released in the
U.S."), but are trying to find out if there isn't a different, harder answer
(e.g. "The product was never released in the U.S., but you can get it at a
store in Russia.").
- Similarly, many things have more than one answer. Don't make the
mistake of thinking that because you found the first one, that it is the one
the user is looking for.
- Do not always believe the first website you see. Now that you think
you know some part of the answer, use this to your advantage and see if you
can't confirm it. ·
- Check all your links and test contact information that you post.
You should lead users directly to their information. Remember, they are paying
you to filter information for them on your answer. Our goal is to remove all
of the content they do not want to see, and only provide the content they
want to see.
A few tips:
Professional and friendly
- Order your information by usefulness. The most useful information goes
at the top.
- Try not to provide filler information that does not pertain to the
question. You should only do this if you think it is valuable to the
- If you provide snippets and summaries from a page, make sure you
provide cited links that support that information. The customer will
want to verify your work for himself.
- If you provide links to information, make sure you take him directly
to the page with the information. If the pages are dynamic, you should
specify the exact actions to get to the information. Make sure you don't
just give him the top-level domain.
- If the information the customer needs isn't immediately visible on a
page that you point to, explain where on the page the information is
located. (e.g. "two-thirds of the way down the page")
Please make sure that you are polite and friendly in your
answers and comments. Never argue or defame another person using
the site. Don't hesitate to be yourself, and you should
feel free to take a personal interest in what people are asking you.
Q: The Google Answers team says be professional. What does that
A: As a Google Answers Researcher you are required to conduct
yourself in public view on the Google Answers website in a
respectful and courteous manner. Google Answers would like to see
all Researchers act in accordance with their Guidelines.
Professional behavior includes:
Unprofessional behavior includes:
- Greeting customers politely and personably, but without undue
- Citing resources correctly
- Responding willingly to clarification requests
- Responding politely to requests for clarification without attacking
the customer's reasons for wanting a clarification
- Speaking kindly and without sarcasm
- Polite explanations of Google Answers policies
Q: Why is professional behavior so important?
- Arguing with customers or commenting on their behavior
- Arguing with other Researchers or commenting on their answers or
- Posting derogatory comments about others
- Requesting payment for comments (instead of answering the
- Offering 'side arrangements' for answering questions
(i.e. "Post a question for me only" or offering to e-mail further
- Advising the customer to ask for a refund on a question
someone else has answered, without waiting for that Researcher to
A: Professionalism is important as part of providing quality
assistance for the user who is paying for this service. It reflects
well on the individual researcher and Google Answers for Researchers
to conduct themselves professionally and courteously on the site at
all times. Researchers who do not conduct themselves in a
professional manner risk being dropped.
Q: What is good customer service?
A: Being a Researcher is not solely about answering questions. It is
about communicating with customers in order to try and meet their
needs to the best of our abilities. Good customer service involves
listening to the customer and responding to their needs. If a
customer is unhappy with the provided information, and says that the
answer was not what they expected, politely ask for a
clarification. This is sometimes the best way to find out precisely
what the question requires and how best to provide the right
answer. If the customer responds to such a request, use this
opportunity to satisfy the request, or explain why their needs
cannot be met. Customer service requires politeness under
pressure. If you cannot say something nicely or professionally,
refer the user to Google Answers staff at,
- Always be friendly and courteous. See the
Style Guide for more about this.
- Follow the format and content suggestions in the
- Do tell us about questions that you think might be inappropriate for
posting on Google Answers by emailing us at
- Do tell us about questions about Google listed on the web site by
emailing us at
- Provide accurate information in your answers.
- Cross-check information with multiple sources whenever possible.
- Ask for clarification if you do not understand the question.
- Provide as direct and detailed an answer as possible to the question
- Use any specific knowledge you may have about a question to help
inform your search strategy and answer.
- Use other resources to answer questions whenever applicable - e.g.
reference books, the library, the newspaper, telephone calls to experts,
emails to friends who are experts, etc.
- Prioritize information in your answer by usefulness to the asker,
including the prioritization of links.
- Cite all sources consulted in the search and use quotation marks to
indicate direct use of another source. For more on this, see the
- Acknowledge when you are including opinion or an analysis you have
done into your answer.
- Read through other questions, answers and ratings regularly to refresh
your understanding of what makes a good answer.
- Respond to clarification requests as quickly as possible from askers.
- Use proper grammar and punctuation.
- Be concise.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread.
- Do not plagiarize content nor use copyrighted material without a
- From the
"Researchers must not copy any material from any Web site or
other source in answering any Question. Researchers may quote or
paraphrase short passages of text, but only if necessary, and only if
the Researcher includes in the answer the author and source of such
materials (including a link to the Web site, if any)."
- See the Style Guide for Recommend format
- Do not provide information that will enable askers to conduct illegal
or harmful activities.
- Do not answer questions that violate Google Answers policies:
- Questions seeking private information about
individuals. Please tell us about questions that you are
unsure whether to answer by emailing us at
- Questions seeking assistance in conducting illegal
- Questions meant to sell or advertise products.
- Questions that refer to adult content.
- Questions seeking specific information about Google or
Google Answers. The Google Answers Team will handle those
questions. If you encounter a question about Google or Google
Answers listed on the site, please email us at
- Do not answer the question if you are uncomfortable with either your
to adequately research it or the level of expertise required to provide
an accurate, useful answer.
- Do not post questions from Google Answers to other research services.
- Do not answer questions where you cannot be objective due to a
conflict of interest (e.g. financial stake in a particular product,
service or company, political perspective, etc).
- Do not use defamatory or otherwise inappropriate language in your
answer. Google Editors will delete all such answers.
- Do not post personal contact information or phone
- Do not publish any articles or make public statements about
Google Answers or your experience as a Researcher without prior
approval from Google. Google must review all public statements
or copy (press articles, web copy, etc) regarding Google Answers
and/or your experience as a Researcher before it is published.
If a Researcher publishes an article prior to receiving approval
from Google, their privileges may be revoked. For more
information, see the Researcher Guidelines or
write to email@example.com.
We recommend reviewing the following as ideal examples of great answers: