research / writers resources

5 Reasons I love Research

researchWhen I write, I have no control over when I will need to research and when I’ll write-write-write. And if I need to search for detail, there’s no telling how long it’ll take. I’ve been known to spend a week–ten days–uncovering the information my story requires. I don’t know what it is until I find it. It’s like a Rubik’s cube–pieces pop into place when I have the right stuff.

Truth, I love research. I get lost in it. I read and read and read until I get a sense of the world that is that character, setting, time frame–whatever it is. I know when I’m done, but more importantly–I know when I’m not done. I just keep digging. And I love it. Why? Research:

  • answers questions. I’m chatting with friends about global warming. We-all wonder–how much hotter is it today than it used to be. I jump on Google and find out–the Global surface temperature increased 0.74 degrees in the last hundred years. I read a bit further and find out it’s cooler today than two million years ago. We’re in an ice age. That’s confusing. I either keep reading or put it on my ‘todo’ list for later.
  • gives me ‘insider knowledge’ about whatever I choose. When I’m visiting the Florida Everglades, it’s good to know crocodiles have been around over 200 million years. That means they aren’t likely to become extinct before my trip is over. I think about it and decide they do fit their environment pretty well, even if that ‘environment’ is disappearing.
  • Puts me in the driver’s seat–I know stuff no one else does. Everyone has a friend whose debate technique is only one fact deep. When I throw detail at them, they don’t know what to do. (They either insult my lineage or make excuses.)
  • ignites my imagination. I’m out there, exploring a world that fascinates me, not knowing what I’ll find, and suddenly one detail pushes my creativity one way or another. Something I’ve uncovered about a street or an artifact turns the story a direction I didn’t expect and the plot begins to rewrite itself. I love that! Well–I do love it if it’s early enough in the process. If it’s the eleventh hour, not so much–though I still go with it. You must, right?
  • I love the high I get from learning new stuff, solving problems I didn’t think I could. It’s like nothing else in the world.

Here’s what I was researching three years ago and last year. Here’s what I’m researching for my new book (which is non-fiction):

  • the Maker Movement–do it yourself is back, big time. People all over the country are doing stuff themselves and exulting in the effort.
  • MOOCs–Massive Open Online Courses–all the rage in education right now. They’re mostly free, provide lots of information, and are a great way to erase the digital divide–if we can get the information out there.
  • Genius Hour–allowing workers/students 20% of the workweek/schoolday to do whatever creative endeavor they’d like. Google began it and education’s picking it up. I’m very excited about it.

How about you? What’s snagged your cerebral attention?

More on research:

9 Reasons Why Readers Stop Reading

Some Scientist Stole My Storyline

How to Virtually Visit a Location You Can’t Drop In On


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is  editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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9 thoughts on “5 Reasons I love Research

  1. Great post, I love finding new things, and enjoy it when I have to do research on something new. I even think it’s good to research stuff I’m sure of, just a refresh :)

  2. It’s good to know that established writers like yourself spend time researching to write your books. I’ve been suffering in silence for lack of info for my book on refugee crisis in India in late 1950s-mid 1960s. Not knowing the facts for my book is a frustrating and hair-pulling experience for me. Now that I know you the established writers have the same problem [although in a reduced intensity] gives me some comfort. Thank you for sharing your research ideas and what you get out it. Would any of your readers know where can I find detailed information on :[1] The names and locations of refugee camps in and around Calcutta in India during late 1950s-mid 1960s, [2] The process of accepting and transferring refugees from East Bengal/East Pakistan to Indian refugee camps, [3] What were the barriers for Hindus in East Bengal/East Pakistan to cross over to India during that period. Arun

    • Great topic. It’s exactly the type I’d want to research. The library might provide some direction. Another thought is Google Scholar (tends to have more serious topics) and Gutenberg Press (has free books on obscure topics–I’ve found quite a few there on my topics).

      Good luck, Arun. I think the research will be quite gratifying for you.

      • I’m now sure; it will. Much grateful for your tips Jacqui. Your blog not only helped me much personally over the time but I think many other writers benefited from it too.

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Letter from the Field–Part I | WordDreams...

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