Last week, the steps of the writing process were outlined. There was also a discussion of the necessary work of Pre-writing. This brings our attention to the next step, Research.
You must be able to support the events and ideas communicated in your article with facts and examples. If you do not have them immediately at your disposal, you must find them. You can utilize primary sources, correspondence, records and recordings or secondary sources, such as bibliographies, indexes and lists. Seek credible and reliable sources to support your work.
You have many options for locating the data necessary to support your articles. Libraries, the Internet, archival institutions such as foundations, museums, and historical societies are just a few of the places writers turn to when seeking factual and statistical support. Public Records kept by local government agencies can also be an invaluable resource. Also, keep in mind that when you’re working on current events articles nothing surpasses a good interview to bolster the facts related in your article.
Make your research pursuits an active process where you engage in an internal dialogue with the text you encounter and an external one with your audience. Make copies. Take notes. Write questions that arise during your research and their discovered answers. If pursued in this manner research can be rewarding and your end product will be well supported by documentation and supporting quotes. Dig in to the task of researching your articles and they will turn out golden.
Research also requires a balanced approach. Use your outline as a guide for your research. This will keep you and ultimately your writing clear and focused. You also need to be flexible while pursuing your research. If you come across new information or details that do not necessarily jibe with the initial angle of your article, be willing to consider following the thread. New information can make your article more interesting or informative.
Next Week: Writing Your Draft