Monday, February 20, 2023

How to Research Your Writing to Give it Substance


Bring weight to your writing and increase your knowledge by accumulating information.


Writer's have varying degrees of knowledge on different subjects, and nobody knows everything, which is why research is such an important part of writing any book or article.

Here are some things you need to think about:

  • Is there any new information that you should know about your subject matter?  Is your information still relevant?
  • What does the opposing side have to say about your subject matter?
  • How do people view your chosen subject?
  • What does your audience think of the subject?
  • Where do you find the most authentic sources for your subject matter?
  • Have you looked into the necessary past history and stories surrounding your subject?
  • What essential elements do you need to know about your chosen subject?

The best approach would be to start looking at books and websites.  Then start thinking about people that you know in the field or people you can interview or send questionnaires to.

Let's take a look at some useful research tips:

1. Book Positioning

Book positioning is an important part of the writing process because it will help you determine who your audience is and what you're writing about.

An author's role is to persuade the audience that there book will help benefit the reader by solving a particular problem.

All of the work you've done collating information should help you achieve that goal.

Once you have the gist of what you're writing about you can start creating an outline for your book.  Your outline will be there to help you stay on track and stop you wasting time on unnecessary research.

2. Create a Research Plan

Not everyone is an expert in their chosen field so you'll need to decide if you need extra information from people in the know before you start writing.

When you start planning your book you need to know where there are gaps in information and if more is required. 

If you're really stuck and short on information you may need to do a brainstorming session to think of ways you can fill in the gaps you might have missed with your research.

Things to think about:

  • Do you need to ask an expert?
  • Do you need to read a book on the subject?
  • Are there any recognised websites online you should look-up?

These are the points you need to start thinking about to plug any holes in your research.

3. Look Online

Even though the internet is a great tool it's not without its faults.  Beware of misinformation!

You'll find an abundance of both good and bad information.  Misinformation can be easily filtered out when you know where all the trustworthy sources are.

You can find trustworthy sites by comparing information you have from various academic and scientific studies.  

See what the current consensus is and weigh that against all of your other information and see if the two match.

If they do match you know you're on the right track.

Here are some quick tips to ensure your internet research is effective and thorough:

  • Authenticate the website author before you look at the information.
  • Similar to the above, make sure your information is from a trusted source.
  • Information on Wikipedia shouldn't be trusted straight away.
  • Look beyond the first page on Google search.
  • Research, research, research.  From research comes proficiency.
  • Use different search terms to find your information. 

4. Go Old School and Read Books

If you really want in-depth research you need to look further than the internet and books are the next best source of information.

Before you even open a page you can see if that book has already been fact-checked, peer-reviewed and vetted by people in the field.  Which makes them more trustworthy than a website online.

You can use the internet to find the books you need, and you may even pick up a really good second-hand copy.

Books are an excellent source of information because you can glean valuable information from the bibliography, footnotes and index.

You may find some of the books you need available in your local library. 

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Read more: 

What is Clear Writing and How Can It Help You Be a Better Writer

How to Reach Your Audience When You Write

How to Plan Your Writing

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