Research in Writing

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 10 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #346506


    I’m a bit rusty when it comes to researching. What tools/resources would you suggest? How do you do research for your novel?

  • #654569


    Like research in any other endeavor, it depends on what you’re researching, I think. And what kind of information you’re seeking.

    Some academic fields are probably not going to be adequately covered in Wikipedia. But articles that touch on your subject might give you some links to sources that let you dig deeper.

    Also, although many academic journals are available online, some of them have significant fees for accessing that information. Your local library might have access for you to utilize them.

    That’s kind of generic, I know.

    In essence, I start with broad searches using Google or your search engine of choice. If Wikipedia articles show up, I read them not for their content, but for their links to more reliable sources. And I never leave out my local library.

  • #654570


    Agree with Rob on all points. Also be aware that some sites are merely copying Wikipedia articles, so watch what their sources are.

    I would also add forums and blogs. Be aware again that just because it’s on a forum doesn’t mean it’s factual – check the source. That said, forums and blogs offer the opportunity to connect individually with people who do know what they’re talking about, and most folks I’ve contacted are more than happy to help writers. (We all love talking about our interests, right?) That goes for people who write the various articles you can find online, too. Police and fire departments, hospitals, social service agencies, military – almost all have public liaison offices who can either give you information or put you in touch with someone who can.

    As to how I research, I might do some very basic research before starting the story, just to make sure what I want to write about is feasible, but after that, I hold off until something happens in the story to require it. I’m an organic writer, so there’s no way I’d know what to research until I get to it anyway; but even for planners, I’d suggest doing only minimal research until you’re actually writing the story in case things change along the way.

  • #654571


    Google for the serious stuff and Wikipedia for the light things.

  • #654572


    Goggle scholar can be useful so long as you can cope with stuff that isn’t always current.
    Thankfully, as a uni student, if I need journal articles, my uni gives me free access.
    For non-scientific things it does depend on what I need to know. So it can be anything from the vast library of books I “borrowed” from my father when I moved out, to maps, to Google, to actually visiting a location.

  • #654573

    InspiredHome wrote:
    I’m a bit rusty when it comes to researching. What tools/resources would you suggest? How do you do research for your novel?


    Depends what you need. Google is the go to tool. Wikipedia is good for an overview with references to use for more depth.
    The local library reference desk is excellent. If they dont know or cant find it they can point you to places that should have what you need.

  • #654574


    Google is a nice resource.

  • #654575


    I cannot stress libraries strongly enough.

    Many librarians go to college and study library science. It is (within this context) the science of finding information.

    You are not bothering a librarian when you ask for help. This is what they do. The few I spoke with say it’s the love of discovery that convinced them to be librarians in the first place.

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