Posted in On Writing, Research

About Writing Articles

I love reading a good article about writing. In fact nothing gives me more pleasure than learning more about my craft. However through my years of reading online articles, I’ve found some problems in using them for research.

Finding The Article

After reading the article and closing the browser, you may find you want to reference the article at a later date. If you have a good memory, you may be able to find the article or at least find the site with the article. But what do you do if you can’t remember the name of the article or the website where you found it?

The simple answer is to save the address of the article. I have a list of links that I like to check constantly for new content as well as to re-read older articles.

Deleted Articles

There have been a few times in the past when I’ve been looking for an article that I wanted to reference again but found the site deleted. Sometimes it’s not the site that has been taken down but a specific article.

Unfortunately, there’s not much that you can do in the case of a deleted article. If the article’s creator is okay with copying it for personal use, then copy the article to keep on your computer.

However, as the internet makes plagiarism easy, many authors prefer readers not to copy their articles. In this case, I make notes about the main points of the article and keep a copy of where I took the notes from. This way, if the article is deleted, I still have the relevant information.

Using the Articles

There are two ways in which I use writing articles. The first way is in a practical sense to improve my writing. This could be in terms of characterization, grammar, or plotting. I use the articles to allow me to grow my writing style so that readers might better understand my works.

The second way I use the articles is when I write about the craft of writing. I can link to other articles about the same topic or share information that I’ve found useful.

What do you think about writing articles? Are they useful or could you do without them? Are you a hoarder of articles or do you read them once and forget about them?

Posted in On Writing, Research

Research

I am a huge fan of doing research for anything that I am not 100% certain of. I know that if I write something that is incorrect I will have someone read it who knows I was bluffing. I don’t want to have poorly researched stories because it bothers me when I read stories with blatantly wrong information.

There are a few ways that I do my research. Each way has its pros and cons but they all work together to help me get the best information possible.

The first method that I use for research is to search online. While it is one of the quicker ways to get information the downside is that not all the information is correct. There are a few ways to find out if the website is reputable. If the website is run by a non-profit or contains peer-reviewed articles, the chances are that the information can be trusted. If the research is specifically designed to sell a product then it may be conveniently missing a few details.

The second research method I use is to take a hands on approach. This method requires me to do what it is I’m writing about. This could require taking a class or it could involve building something. Some of the fun hands on research involves weekend trips and trying new activities. The downside of this method is that it leaves out things that require a lot of training such as a master’s degree.

The last way I research is by using the library. It’s slower than using the internet but they tend to have more reliable information. Despite the more reliable nature of libraries, they are becoming outdated as more books are being published in electronic format. Regardless of how out of fashion libraries have become they are still my favourite research tool.

How do you research? Do you have a favourite method or use the most convenient one? Are there any research tips you would share?