Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Internet resources are wonderful — but not always useful for your research needs as a writer

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The beauty of using the Internet for research is its convenience for most of us. Whether you’re looking for the history of the Alamo, or the origin of the name “Alamo,” you can find it with a quick query through Google or Yahoo! or MSN. Whether you want to find out about herbal medicine or simply find the definition of a medicinal herb like Astragalus, you can search with a few clicks of your mouse.

(Not that many years ago, we wouldn’t even have understood the phrase “clicks of your mouse,” would we??)

Anyway, online research is quick and very useful. For example, I rarely pull out the old dictionary anymore. For one thing, my wife, Shirley, has it over in her corner of the room behind the arm of a couch, and I’m too lazy to dig for it. For another, I can go much more quickly to the Merriam-Webster website and search the same dictionary with that fabled click of my mouse.

But, of course, if you do very specialized research for specialized types of writing, you may not be able to use the Internet directly. The most immediate example that comes to mind is interviewing sources. Interviews often require meeting face-to-face with one of your sources, or at least involves making phone calls or other sorts of direct interaction. (Of course, if you use VOIP phone services you would be using the Internet indirectly for your research. You got me there.)

The point of this would be: Think carefully and plan your research when you are faced with researching a writing project. Don’t find yourself missing deadlines or failing to get the material you need because you make the assumption that the Internet is the only way or the best way to go. Be a careful, prudent researcher. Save your passion for your writing.
[tags]doing research, Internet research, research without the Internet, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]

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One Response to “Internet resources are wonderful — but not always useful for your research needs as a writer”

  1. Tara says:

    I’ve been disappointed with my internet searches sometimes, but I’ve even more disappointed with “old school” library searches on more occasions.

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