How to conduct research for nonfiction
Do you ever wonder how to conduct research for nonfiction books and blog posts? That’s the topic here today.
To be successful in writing a nonfiction book, you need to gather a lot of information. The best way to do this is to research. You can do this by reading books and articles, talking with people about your topic, or conducting online research.
Before you start your research, it’s important to define your topic and why you’re writing the book. This will help you focus your research and avoid getting distracted. It will also help you identify key sources of information on your subject.
Primary research is research you do personally. It involves actions such as testing and observing things firsthand. You watched and documented animal behavior, or you tested metals in your basement laboratory. Primary research could also involve attending events and visiting locations.
Secondary research is using materials someone else created: looking at charts and maps, and reading books and articles, for example.
When you’re researching your topic, be sure to read from many sources. Try this book on research methods.
Also, read books on your topic. At the very least, take a look at the Tables of Contents in books that are relevant to your topic. These will give you a general overview.
You should also talk with people who have firsthand knowledge and need. This will give you an idea of what the audience is looking for. That will help you develop your content and create a strong foundation for your book.
Depending on your subject matter, you’ll need to use different sources. For example, if you’re writing a book on physiology, you may need to consult a medical journal or other peer-reviewed sources. If you’re writing a memoir, your information might come from friends or family members who have lived with your topic.
It is important to use multiple sources and verify the credibility and reliability of the information you gather. This helps in avoiding inaccuracies and biases that may lead to potential harm or misinformation.
Keeping research organized
The importance of organization in nonfiction book writing is obvious: You need to be able to quickly find information that will help you explain your point. It’s also essential that the information you choose is accurate and reliable.
In addition to the research methods you’ll use, you need to consider the data itself. For instance, you might want to reference Pew Research Center’s statistics, Nielsen ratings, scholarly research, or survey data from private companies.
If you need to include a lot of data, you’ll want to create an organized system for storing it. This can save you time and effort when you’re trying to retrieve it later.
The research rabbit hole
Caution. Research can be a time-consuming process, and too many writers allow it to eat up more time than needed. They “fall down the rabbit hole” and waste time. That’s why it’s important to know how to conduct research for nonfiction efficiently and avoid the dreaded research rut.
Remember that research is an ongoing process. Even after completing a draft, it is important to remain open to new information and be willing to revise and update your work accordingly. This iterative approach ensures that your content stays relevant and updated, providing accurate and valuable insights to your readers.
Ultimately, knowing how to conduct research for nonfiction will serve you well. Research is a key ingredient in your writing. It adds depth, credibility, and impact to your work, making it more engaging and satisfying for your audience. Prioritizing the research process and dedicating ample time and effort to it will help you create high-quality nonfiction content that stands out and leaves a fulfilling and lasting impression.
See this post about the importance of research in nonfiction writing.