Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Professor's “How To” Writing Improvement Series Part 2

“How To Do Fact Find Like I Do”:
Researching your Information Sources:

By Mike Aka The Professor


The way to get to be considered an authority on any topic you write about, is to make sure that you know it thoroughly, as far as is humanly possible. Research is The key to any type of credibility, whether you are writing a how to on making a recipe, making a child’s toy or doing investigative journalism. Research is required to find all the details that the topic entails.

The way to know it inside and out, is to get all the particulars by asking all the questions that you would if you were the one who needed to know how it was done and to be able to replicate the results. We all know how to do many things and all too often we believe that we are experts in those areas. The problem arises when we are asked to explain how we do what we do so well.

We then to eliminate the parts that are routine and so obvious to anyone who has done it too. That is the real problem! The assumption that others know leads to parts being missed. We need to realize that those who are requesting the answers actually don't know the first thing about that subject.


It is always better to assume that you are their first and most knowledgeable source for your topic, article, how to, lesson in fact approach it as you did when you first learned about it what ever it was. Start your research so that you can answer their questions because you answered them for yourself first.

When you need to be accurate, for any writing project, regardless of the style you chose, research is extremely important. So how do you do your researching? What sources are available for you to use? Are you sure that such research is necessary in all cases? All these questions are indeed important and answering them will prove your writing status, to your readers and to yourself.

The difference between a quality piece and the myriad of bogus, biased and false attempts at erroneous viewpoints, with empirical personal opinions, instead of real facts will be quickly recognized and easily seen. Places like Wikipedia, Britannica Online, Encyclopedia.com and as recently as 2009, MSN Encarta, were great sites to start as these places are updated often and fairly frequently.

The true Giants of the Internet and world wide web sources are Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Dogpile Search engines, with several others rounding out the top ten. I chose these as for my purposes they are the most well known and recommended. These are the places to start your research for they will help you weed out the proficient from the pretenders.

Public Libraries are also excellent sources for material as librarians are usually themselves skillful researchers on a variety of topics. I have utilized their formidable skills with amazing results on many occasions. Reference libraries, while not allowing you to borrow their book and other materials, can be an excellent source for those hard to find reference materials.

I highly recommend that you take every opportunity to make yourself acquainted with the sources and resources that you have in your surrounding area. Books,Newspapers, Magazines and other many and varied periodicals can and do have valuable informational sources that can be invaluable to the serious investigator regardless of the topic.

I have provided you with almost all the sources that I, myself , have used with regards to almost every topic and writing style that I have used in print to date. The last is personal experience. We write our best work, about those things that we have first hand knowledge in.

The investment of yourself in your writing styles will always be as unique as is your DNA. The writer in you is the one that your readers will get to know in what they see on the screen, the printed page and or the article in the magazine.

Be Sure to Be Yourself and once you do you have already established your credibility. Do all the research necessary because you expect your reader to read it and it should always be your best effort for their sake. Remember they are the reason that you are writing. Always Treat Them with Respect and They, in turn, will reward you with their loyalty and trust!

Thanks for reading and be sure to leave me a comment, question or response in the comment section below! The Next topic in the series will appear next week so see you then. Regards Mike AKA the Professor.

Copyright October 6th 2011
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