Research

Research is important for writers. Most of us use it for background research on our current project. But we also need to use it for marketing research, searching for where we can publish our articles, stories, and books.

library Most libraries have reference librarians. We can visit the library or just call. It’s important to frame our questions. It’s better to tell the librarian what we need, rather than to ask for a specific book.  It’s better to say “I need to know what kind of trees grow in Somalia,” than to ask for “AFRICAN TREES.” desert trees

The librarian may not have  “AFRICAN TREES,” but may know where to get the information we need, perhaps in a book on Somalia.

We need information on a lot of subjects. The Internet helps a lot, if we learn the search tricks. In the novel I wrote about the UN, Veto, I found out everything I needed to know, including the residence of the Secretary General and the placement of washrooms in the building (Convenient and plentiful men’s rooms, not so for the women.)

The research needs of writers are many and varied. Sometimes we need to know police procedure, architectural ideas, or janitorial supplies.

Most people are eager to help writers with research.  Perhaps they are eager to be part of a big project like an article or a book.  Perhaps they are honored to be asked for their help. Try it.  Identify yourself as a writer and see what happens.

Images courtesy of:

  • mgcccanberra.org.au
  • eyefetch.com
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12 responses to “Research

  1. I write in the thriller/mystery area from time to time. I bought myself two excellent books put out by Writer’s Digest on Forensics and Police Investigations. They were very helpful in getting to the generalities of certain wonderfully morbid areas of need for my story. With the generalities in hand, you know where to go deeper in your research and how to hone those internet search words.

  2. Spot on as usual, Ed. I’ve always found people very helpful if I tell them I’m wiriting something and need their knowledge; I think people like to be associated with writers. They see the glamour of it, while the poor old writer just sees (for the most part) the hard grind.
    Best,
    Danielle

    • Thanks, Danielle. I used to write a column for the local paper. The column was called Lifelong Learning and it featured stories of people who had gone back to school in their mature years. I had never had any trouble getting them to talk. Just as you said. Thanks
      Ed
      http://edgriffin.net/

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