Importance of research in nonfiction writing
This post is about the importance of research in nonfiction writing. When writing nonfiction, research is a necessary part of the process, but it doesn’t always have to take place immediately before you write your blog post or book. It’s possible that you have been researching your topic for years.
Often, when this is the case, it seems like an author writes the book in a week or so. When I sit down to write a book, it often comes pouring out of me like cake batter from a bowl. That’s because the ingredients have been sitting in my brain for years. I’ve been conducting the research for the book here and there for a very long time. You might do the same thing.
Here are two main instances of the importance of research in nonfiction writing: accuracy and credibility.
Making a book accurate
Research in nonfiction is the key to accuracy and can make any piece of writing more useful.
Whether you’re baking up a memoir, a history book, or a scientific tome, it’s essential to sift through your ingredients and gather the right amount of the right kinds of information before preheating your oven.
Sufficient research can add structure and give you the facts needed to fill the bellies of your readers.
A lack of research can result in flat, bland writing. In the worst-case scenario, the writing could be inaccurate and dangerous and could result in the injury or even death of readers. Below is just one real-life example of that.
Following Neal Barnard, MD’s book that claims to cure diabetes nearly killed me in days. In that book, he claimed that there was no need to count carbohydrate grams when following the diet he recommended. Just use the recipes in the book, and you’ll lose weight and stop being diabetic, he said.
Yes, I lost some weight, but it was because the diet that his book laid out caused my blood sugar to skyrocket. My body was eating its own muscle in an attempt to stay alive. That’s where the weight loss came from.
The “information” he gave in his book was severely inaccurate and deadly. I quickly entered ketoacidosis, a life-threatening medical emergency. Such examples emphasize the importance of research in nonfiction writing. Don’t kill people with inaccurate writing (or with anything else). Killing people is bad.
When you write nonfiction, it is crucial to be able to back up your facts. For example, say you are writing about sharks and make some assertions.
You need to make sure that you have and share enough evidence to support your claims.
This may include your own personal observations as the author of the book. Experience and degrees increase your credibility.
It would be wise to obtain additional information from other credible sources as well, such as veterinarians or marine biologists. You might interview them or quote their writings. Associations and other organizations can also be great places to find credible sources, as can masterminds and communities such as Platform Launchers and The 48 Days Eagles Community.
What to remember about research in nonfiction writing
So, what do you “knead to know” about the importance of research in nonfiction writing? Here are a few key points to keep in mind:
Research comes in many flavors.
When we think of research, we often think of devouring books and articles. While this is undoubtedly an important aspect of research, it’s not the only one. Research can also involve conducting interviews, attending events, visiting locations, and even conducting experiments or surveys. The key is to mix together as many relevant ingredients as needed to support your writing.
Not all ingredients are created equal.
When conducting research, it’s important to be discerning about your ingredients. Just because something is published doesn’t mean it’s accurate or reliable. Be sure to taste-test your ingredients and consider factors like the author’s credentials, the publication’s reputation, and any potential biases. When in doubt, try to use multiple ingredients that support the same information.
Research can be an ongoing process.
Even after you’ve whipped up a draft, your research isn’t necessarily complete. As you whisk and fold your work, you may come across new information that requires additional research or revisions to your existing batter. Don’t be afraid to go back and add more ingredients or adjust your measurements as needed.
Good research flavors the cake.
The purpose of research is to add flavor and strengthen your writing. By taking the time to mix and measure your information, you can make more informed statements and provide evidence to back up your claims. This, in turn, can make your writing more delicious and satisfying for readers.
Research is a vital ingredient in nonfiction writing. It forms the foundation of accuracy, credibility, and impact. By recognizing the importance of research in nonfiction writing and dedicating some time and effort to it, you can create compelling and trustworthy nonfiction content that resonates with your readers. By blending the right ingredients, you can ensure that your writing is accurate, flavorful, and impactful. So, whether you’re baking a book or an article, make sure to prioritize your research process and give it the attention it deserves. Your readers (and your writing career) will crave more.
Remember to prioritize research when you write your next blog post or book, and let it guide you to produce exceptional work.
See this post about how to conduct research for your nonfiction writing.