Research: Even My Grandson Can Google

MarilynDavisatTIERSStarred Page By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 25th Apr 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

“Research is something that everyone can do, and everyone ought to do. It is simply collecting information and thinking systematically about it. The word ‘research’ carries overtones of abstruse statistics and complex methods, white coats and computers. Some social research is highly specialised but most is not; much of the best research is logically very straightforward…" Raewyn Connell

With Freedom to Write Comes the Responsibility to Research and Write Well

Aldous Huxley, a leading essayist, gives guidance on the subject. He notes, "The essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything", and adds, "By tradition, almost by definition, the essay is a short piece".

Although the Internet provides an international platform for writers to write about anything, readers have come to expect interesting content, images that reinforce the words, and quality information. It is not enough to have an opinion or even some knowledge about the subject as the writer.

Today we must all spend time researching before we write.

Research: It is Not Just for Students

There is quality information available through many sources. Our job as a writer is to take the time to find it. Quality information is not just the first site listed on Google, Bing or Ask, nor is Wikipedia the authority on all subjects.

Research is:

Systematic investigation to establish facts
• Specialized Enquiry about the subject
• Exploration of the subject


Furthermore, if my seven-year-old grandson has to research Google for his papers, I know adult readers can do the same, so if there is not better developed information in the essay, many readers will leave.

Essays, Articles and Blogs: It’s All about Reader’s Choice

Many sites accept writing, which means that there are endless opportunities to write creatively. Yet with this opportunity come responsibility and an obligation.

Readers today are more educated, discerning, and sophisticated, and as such, they know a cut and paste, a rehash of last week’s news, or if the essay is redundant and cliché ridden. Each writer has to accept that without research, accurate and interesting information, images, and first-rate writing readers will leave.

As of January 6, 2014, Pewinternet.org shows that 92% of the population has at least some college and 97% have advanced degrees. I can assume that many in those populations also wrote a research paper, and as such, they know what actual research entails. This means that I am obliged to give them quality information.

You Cannot Rely On Just What You Know

Typically, a writer will approach a topic that they are interested in and as such, may have a working knowledge about the subject. However, for those of us who have done freelance writing, we often have a subject to write about and little knowledge. We got those jobs because someone liked our writing style or the care we put into research.

Where Do You Find Information?

The Internet contains at least 2.46 billion pages according to worldwidewebsize.com so there is a wealth of information available on any topic. However, the key to finding adjunct, usable and interesting information is to know how to search.

What the writer needs:

Relevant search results that add value to the essay
• Organized searches with enough information to prompt additional exploration of the information
• Options, like advanced searches to broaden the article or add depth


What the reader needs are the results from searches, such as:

Value added information
• Multiple examples
• Various illustrations of the points in the essay

Search from Two Perspectives

When I research, I try to process a search from the standpoint of the reader and as a writer. Searching from both perspectives is often phrasing the search as a question, so I ask, “How would a reader search for this information.” However, writers do not always title in a like manner, so refining a search from a writer’s perspective means that my searches are broader.

In addition, Google does not index every page, so I have used the following and found unusual and distinctive information.

www.duckduckgo.com
www.clusty.com
www.lycos.com
www.googlescholar.com
https://archive.org/ (the Internet Archives for older web pages and articles)

I realize that people do not want the top 1,000 search engines, however, knowing there is information out there that Google does not index means that I have resources that will add unique information for the reader.

When I find interesting information, I add the site to my own research web site list. Keeping track of your own best research sites means that if you are niche writing, you have a convenient list of reliable resources for the next article.

Topic-Research-Quality Writing: It is Your Brand

The next time you choose a topic, take the time to research, find unique and different information for the readers, learn to include images that reinforce the message of the essay, not just the Morguefile, Pixabay or Wikimedia Commons variety, but charts, tables, SmartArt, or even word clouds that are individual to your writing.

Be Original - Become a Brand

The combination of words, style, tone and images create your individualized approach to writing essays. All of these become your brand.

Your Brand: Are You Gaining Followers and Views?

Why do some writers attract thousands of readers a day, subscribers to their blogs, and a following? Because these writers deliver on their promise in the titles and consistently create interesting, informative and imaginative essays, they attract a loyal following.

Self-discovery: Finding my Brand

In his book, Get Slightly Famous, author Steven Van Yoder emphasizes key techniques for businesses; however, these same principles are applicable for essay writers as well. When I used these and supplied answers for my own writing, I realized how I could become “slightly famous”.

1. Targeting the best prospects

• Where Should I Write? Is Wikinut a reputable or respectable platform for my essays? Are there other sites that would better promote my writing? Who is my average reader? What do my readers comment favorably on in my writing?

2. Developing a unique market niche

• Currently: How to Write Well, Addiction and Recovery

3. Positioning your business (writing) as the best solution

Solution centered essays on better writing and addiction recovery

4. Maintaining your visibility

• Commitment to specific number of quality essays per week shared through social media and other platforms

5. Enhancing your credibility

• Writing quality essays, well researched and linked

6. Becoming a thought leader

• Giving readers information to think about and asking questions in the essay

Know the Competition

According to Worldometers, as of 9:53 AM, April 24, there were 1,416,181 blogs recorded. Granted, I do not have information on which of these is about researching an essay, however, I can assume that there are interesting blogs and posts that might attract readers.

Knowing the competition numbers means that most essays will not go viral; however, quality writing will find readers, followers and eventually passive income.

Challenge

Take the time today to do some personal research. You will not find this information in a search engine, but within. Define the six categories from the section Self-discovery about you and your writing goals. Researching your motivations, methods, and approach to writing, research, and creating a lasting impression on your readers, is time well spent.

While we may be writing for personal reasons as C.D. Moore captured in her poem, Why Do I Write, many writers do not take the time to understand:

• Why they write
• Defined readers
• Writing goals
• Strategies for Improvement and Goals

This personal research can be the beginning of setting your writing apart from the other 1,416,181 writers. In addition, who knows, maybe in the next few months, a search will show your name or essay in the top five.


For additional articles by Marilyn Davis

Each person has a unique voice and Wikinut is a place for you to share your wisdom, humor, insight and knowledge. Join, write and become connected to others who share a passion for writing, supporting one another, and learning on Wikinut.

Credits
Word Cloud – Marilyn Davis
Knowledge, Original and Questioning Woman: Pixabay
Demographics chart: Pewinternet.org
Size of the web: worldwidewebsize.com
Blogs written today: Worldometers.com

Tags

Essay Research, More Than Google, Quality Articles Include Research, Quality Content Includes Research, Quality Writing Includes Research, Research An Article, Research Methods, Researching For Short Essays, Search Engines, Using Search Engines For Research

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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Comments

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Good evening, Mark, thank you for moderating and for the Star. I appreciate both. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Good post, people should be curious and should do their own research on anything and everything.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Mark, thank you for the added comment. I know that you do and I tend to follow your links. They always add value about the subjects. ~Marilyn

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
26th Apr 2014 (#)

interesting and right on...

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Carolina - poets exempt. Although research is also finding those interesting images that you seem to find. What are your sources? ~Marilyn

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author avatar vellur
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Great article, interesting and informative.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Vellur, thank you. I actually enjoy researching topics - the curious child in me and there is so much to learn. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Apr 2014 (#)

92% of people have some college? Really? I think I must be missing some vital part of that statistic. And 97% of the 92% also seems very very high for people with advanced degrees. It also goes against the training that Internet articles should be written to the reading ability of the average 8th grader.
I think research has its place, of course, but people want to read something they care about. And those same people will overlook tons of errors if they are engaged with the subject or content matter. People (almost) only want facts and figures if they are researching their own research papers. I think -- though perhaps I'm wrong -- that people come to sites like Wikinut to be entertained. Perhaps to engage in debate over the political or the religious -- but some are entertained by that. The rest are writers looking to make money and network. And then there are those ofbus who

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Phyl, in checking the stats, I got the same on several, that part of research that says verify. That particular site simply had a better graphic. Having said that, I know we are supposed to write to an 8th grader - ran into that in creating my curriculum, however, I tend to write a few grades higher according to the scale in the spell checks. I agree that people want to be entertained, however, there are segments that want to know how to do something, get solutions, and find answers. Those writing at Wikinut do entertain, however, I hope that some of my articles will help them write better articles. Personally, I am not going to be entertained or impressed with many errors when spelling and simple grammar are easy to learn and fix. In the free lance world, there is no money with those kinds of errors. Thanks for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Sorry -- as I was saying -- and then there are those of us who write for cathartic reasons, and some who I hope read the rants and get some sort of entertainment value or release from such reading.

In summary, while there are certain articles that need research, there are many brilliant ones that are appreciated because they are heartfelt and plainspoken. And then poetry, of course, in a group all its own.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Phyl. I do not disagree with you, however, we are not talking about the same types of articles. Your human interest stories obviously do not require research. This article is specific to the type of articles that do require research. Read response to Carolina about poems. Since I write about how to improve writing, this article includes several ways to make a researched essay better. Your stories do not need improving from that standpoint. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
26th Apr 2014 (#)

My child was certified at age 3 for technology training and media surfing as part of the daycare curriculum. Also knows how to use other technology gadgets. and yes my little one is now eight years of age.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Its not hard as children are very good at learning things from the time they learn to speak....

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Aiyanna, reinforcing my point, thank you. Research has a place and children should know that there is a wealth of information about any subject and they are fortunate to have access to it. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Interesting article.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Good evening, Rahdhir, thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate both. ~Marilyn

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author avatar C.D. Moore
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Research is a lot of fun I think.
Great and useful article, Marilyn

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
26th Apr 2014 (#)

Good evening, C. D. Hope you get some views on your poem from the mention. Thanks for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
27th Apr 2014 (#)

Hey this has to stop - you keep reading my mind on article ideas. I do agree about the value of research but as important as doing research is getting the information from places or people that know what they are talking about.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
27th Apr 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, Peter, the beauty of writing is that even when we select the same topic, we will write about it from different perspectives. Just put it in your draft file and wait a few weeks. Thanks for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Connie McKinney
30th Apr 2014 (#)

Marilyn, you raised some good points here. It's easy to fall into the trap of using Wikipedia or Google for research. We need to rely on real experts, as you pointed out so well.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
30th Apr 2014 (#)

Good morning, Connie, I fall into the Google/Wikipedia trap as well; however, there are more interesting and sometimes more informative sources out there. We just have to take the time to find them. Thanks for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
4th May 2014 (#)

Thanks Marilyn, thought provoking as usual. Mine are mostly from personal experiences without much data to back them. I am in the finance field, and topics on them I try to avoid as media is full of the same topic with views contradicting each other! Why add to the confusion!

Like Phyl, I had a double take at 92% having some college as I feel some schooling maybe more to reality - siva

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
4th May 2014 (#)

Good morning, Siva, I think your essays approach the heart of the financial disparities and often times, your images reinforce your point quite well. I do not think everything needs research in the sense of this article; however, it should be more than Google and Wikipedia when used. Thanks for your comment. ~Marilyn

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