Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

Ongoing Research Resources list and tips

Note: Not complete, not universal, not comprehensive either. Just a few favourites, tips, and shameless pimping of some of my sources.

Google [link]
Google is available in many, many languages. In my opinion, the English one (.com) is the most powerful one. Google works on a keyword-query. The trick to google is patience to make different searches. Here’s a few tips:

  1. When doing a search, try different keywords, with and without quotes. osaka guardians and “osaka guardians” will not yield to the same results.
  2. Google does not understand upper or lowercase, so OSAKA, Osaka and osaka will get you to the same pages.
  3. Use -keyterm to exclude certain words.
  4. Remember that Google has options to search for images and videos, too. And there’s Google Scholar [link] for the geekiest.
  5. * is a wildcard, meaning it can substitute any word you’re looking for in a sentence.
  6. Use filetype:pdf to get only pdf results (filetype:ext to get any file extension).
  7. Be careful of brilliant pages and with what you download in your computer!!
  8. Google can (and many times will) lead you to other kind of engines, such as answers.com [link] or yahoo answers [link]. Link hopping is really useful
  9. Skim at least 3 pages of links before giving up

Wikipedia

Wikipedia comes in various languages, and what makes it awesomely useful is the fact that you can search for anything in any language and switch into any other. Generally, the English articles are more extensive, but you can (and should!) check for information in any language you read and has a good article.

Find your way around

  1. Google maps [link] will give you walking and car distances from and to many places, and with the street view feature, you can be IN the map
  2. Google Earth is nice and handy too, for bookmarking your own locations

When on the internet: link hop

Explore wikipedia’s references, and ‘related topics’ when you’re on answering engines.

Patience

Don’t give up on the third link.

Books

I’m old school, when I was younger getting a photocopy was a luxury, and there was no internet XD

  1. Your local library can be a good source of information.
  2. ebay [link]. Here you can buy second or first hand books, many of them cheap.
  3. Amazon [link] is the reference online bookshop, and has some second hand book for as little as 1cent + S&H
  4. A personal favourite: The Book Depository [link] has 0 S&H and nice offers.
  5. Public Domain Books (and basically anything) can be found in The Internet Archive [link]

Writing Forums or LJ communities

  1. Detail Oriented [link]: an LJ community for writers.
  2. NaNoWriMo’s forums [link]

Uber-geeky search engines (Research Journal articles):

  1. I use Science Direct [link] a lot, but if you got access to a university library you might have access to many more.
  2. JSTOR [link] is more focused on social science, and thus is useful too

Specific Forums
Forums are an amazing fountain of wisdom and real life experience. The people posting there have specific knowledge about a specific topic and can help you cross-reference your preconceptions.

TED Talks [link]
TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) provides access to a wide range of information under a Creative Commons license in 18 minutes or less, bringing together some of the authorities in the topic at hand – whichever that is.

What is not a good idea to count as research:

Anything that comes from a movie or a tv series, unless you’ve double-checked. Sometimes screenwriters get amusingly unaccurate. An example? Old blood is not blood red. How many times have you seen in a cop show a body covered in bright red blood when the victim was killed a few nights before?

Personal list of Resources:

  • Apparelized [link] Spinal Cord injuries forum.
  • eMedicine [link] Medical Articles in plain/acessible English
Advertisements

Comments are closed.