What came to mind when you read that word? How did you feel? What was your body language?
If you’re like many people, you cringed. You made a face and felt a knot in your stomach. That’s because so many of us are taught (and experience) that research has to be this difficult, boring, time-consuming thing.
Okay, maybe it used to be those things, but it doesn’t have to be anymore. This is the best time in history to be a writer. Not only can you publish anything you want to (within reason) on Kindle, but you can access anything you need to make it happen.
You can use Google Earth to visit faraway lands. You can access untold numbers of public domain books. You can Google anything you want to know. You can ask people from all over the world whatever you’d like to ask them. You can find experts to interview on any topic, with a few clicks of the mouse.
Everything you need is out there and it’s easily accessible. You just have to know how to find it and organize it. Sometimes, having too much information can be just as scary as not having enough.
Here are three tips you need to know to take away most of your struggle with research before you write:
- Learn how to read only what you need to-This is the biggest trick to research there is. Be very specific with your research and read only what you need to. Use the ctrl+f function to drill down and find specific words and sections. Be very specific with Google and database searches. Don’t waste time taking notes or even reading things you don’t really need to know. You aren’t hoarding information– you’re reading and using only what you need.
- Organize your research as you go– Be very specific about what you need to know. Create notes files for specific topics. Organize yourself now and you won’t have to spend hours doing it later. Don’t just have a giant file for a topic-have many smaller, very specific files that you can access in a stress-free way while writing.
- Know exactly where to get the best information– Don’t waste time using sources that can’t back themselves up. Look for primary sources and scholarly sources. Use more than one source to verify information.
Scholar.google.com is a great starting place as is books.google.com. Use those databases to spark additional research in the right places. Go to the right spots the first time around and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches.