There are traditional and contemporary ways to research for your blog post or eBook. Conventional methods of effective research are referring to published books, scholarly works, theses and journals in the relevant discipline. More relevant in our times is online research, primarily powered by free encyclopedias and search engines. There is no dearth of academic papers published online and available for the public. Some online journals or websites charge a subscription fee but many do not have any costs, either upfront or hidden. You can always find the free sites relevant for your blog post or eBook.
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Best Methods for Effective Research
Generic online research is often frowned upon, especially by scholars and experts in different fields. This is simply because the popular platforms do not always have factual or accurate information. Wikipedia is a great example. It is a resourceful website but it is crowd sourced. There is a certain standard of editorial intervention but innumerable pages on Wikipedia have factually incorrect information. Edits often reflect biases or partisanship. Vested interests often initiate the edits and basically plant information that serves a purpose, not necessarily to be truly informative for interested users or public in general.
Whether you use online encyclopedias or books, journals or news across traditional and new age media, it is imperative for a writer to consider multiple perspectives. Truth and post truth, real and fake news are problems plaguing the age of information. It is indeed unwise to use just one source or reference to secure the information you need. Research should always be thorough. You may have a specific objective and you may wish to make a certain point through your blog post or eBook. That too demands holistic research and not just exploring references that suit your line of thought.
Limited research, dismissing alternative views or contradictory information can essentially make a blog post or eBook questionable. This is why simple online research or even extensive reading of scholarly works is often found wanting and the intervention of an expert is deemed necessary. Some of the most successful researchers and authors work with experts directly. They engage with the experts in specific disciplines before, during and after writing the book so their perspectives can be factored in to make the piece authoritative.
Using Google for Effective Research
Using Google is the simplest and quickest way to get access to relevant information. The search engine has billions of pages indexed and can access relevant ones to be displayed on the result pages depending on the keywords or criteria used. You should learn to initiate effective searches on Google. Here are a few tips to use the largest search engine in the world for effective research.
• Use available tabs to customize your search and look for something specific. You may want to search the web in general or only news, images or videos, maps or books. You can choose the preferred tab and get the relevant results.
• You can use quotation to ensure that the entire phrase used as the search criteria is used by Google to list the most relevant websites or webpage contents. Using quotes before and after the search criteria, phrase, words, terms or keywords will get Google to use the whole content as it is, in that particular order and shall not exclude any word. You can also use hyphen to exclude any particular word. Often some words are used together all the time. You can exclude associated words with a hyphen in your search criteria.
• You can use colon to look for information in a particular website. Just enter site:websitename to get Google to look for the searched words in that website. You can use another method if you want a webpage content to have links to another website. Just enter link:websitename to get pages that are linked to the chosen website. Such syntaxes are very helpful during research as you may have highly specific objectives during a search.
• You can use asterisks between the words relevant to your search for Google to fill it up with relevant keywords. Use related:websitename to find associated or similar websites. You can use multiple keywords, phrases or sentences at the same time. Use numbers and other distinct elements in your search to find niche or specific types of content that will get segregated from other generic information. Research has to be specific so your search too must assist that process.
• You can keep adding words to your search, filter the results, prioritize keywords that websites use or the common terms in the specific discipline, get rid of insignificant words, access shortcuts on the search engine, employ descriptive terms that are relevant in the research and look for file types if you have a preference. For the latter, you can use filetype:jpeg or filetype:pdf.
How to Find Experts in any Relevant Discipline
Writers, editors, reporters, publishers and producers have to be meticulous with their works. The only way to avoid committing serious errors is to consult an expert in the chosen discipline. There are enough sources available online where citations are clearly mentioned. You can use these citations or quotes. You can refer to the source article, book or news. You may also use video sources. You can get access to experts who are routinely quoted by the media. From New York Times to Wall Street Journal, Associated Press to CBS, NPR or Fox News, experts from many disciplines are featured in different kinds of news.
You can use Microsoft Academic Search and Google Scholar to find experts in the relevant discipline. Both Microsoft and Google have made attempts to ensure they provide credible information on their respective platforms. You will find the experts, you will get to assess their expertise and even understand their stature or authority. You can also access citations, scholarly works and other relevant research materials for your blog post or eBook. This method is an alternative that can coexist with the traditional way of seeking help from experts such as using professional and personal networks, visiting universities or colleges and to explore referrals.
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