How To Research Effectively

No matter what genre you’re writing in–non-fiction, history, mystery, etc.–you need to do research.

The research can be something simple. Can’t remember what those metal things are called on the tires of your car? Maybe you need to know about different kinds of cars, what pricing they go for, and more.

The research can be something a little more difficult. What time period was the Civil War fought? How were wars fought back then? What kinds of weapons were used?

Unless you’ve created an entirely brand new world all your own, you should have some factual evidence in your stories, fiction or not. Just every day common knowledge.

So, how exactly do you find out about all theses facts? You conduct research.

How to research rachel poli writing

1. The Internet.

You can find just about anything on the Internet these days and it’s probably one of the most common ways to research anything. People do a quick Google search and that’s that. YouTube is helpful as well. Though, you must beware. Not everything on the Internet is true.

2. Books.

The library is your friend. Seriously. They have books on and about everything you could imagine. They normally have a reference desk as well as computers.

3. Think.

Your brain can hold a lot of information. Everything you’ve learned from school and other people, you can write about. You already have common knowledge of certain things. Incorporate those into your story if you can or want.

4. Talk to people.

If you don’t know something, maybe someone else does. Ask them. I’m sure they’d love to help. If you’re writing a court scene in your novel and your uncle is a lawyer, talk to him about it.

5. Observe around you.

Need information on a place? Go there and take notes. Even if you don’t need the information, take notes while on vacation or going somewhere new anyway. You might need it later. Observe the people around you where ever you are. Use your five senses. There’s nothing more natural than first-hand research.

How do you research for your novels? What kind of research do you have to do?

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11 thoughts on “How To Research Effectively

  1. That covers the range pretty well. I think the best way is to use all 5 methods since it always depends on what you’re working on. For example, fantasy might have more books, Internet, and thinking while a real-world based story requires more observation. Even a brand new world requires some research because a reader is only willing to give you so much leeway. Though that really depends on how quickly and clearly you explain the world’s rules. Guess a 6th research area is your own notes.

  2. For the Shifters & Mages series, I’m constantly researching the Salem Witch Trials and referencing random events, customs, and meals from that time period. One of the next things I have to study is the speech that was spoken back then (terms used, slang, etc), and I’ll probably refer to Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Either that I’ll use a mix of modern language, as a lot of YA/NA is doing these days for past events. Still deciding.

Let me know your thoughts!

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