How to research for article, blog post writing
You’ve heard the phrase “hog in, sausage out.” That means that what you get out of the grinder will be no better than what you put in it.
This is certainly true in writing. No matter how accomplished a writer you are, your story will be no better than your material.
“Without great reporting, a story is like one big comb-over. You can see it from the third paragraph.”
— Ann Hull, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Washington Post
No matter how talented a writer you are, your reader really wants to know that the billionaire’s wife stalks Walmart for bargains, that the networking expert is so shy she has to take a deep breath before introducing herself at parties and that the presidential museum features a portrait of Harry Truman on the head of a pin.
And those details you can get only through research.
Three types of research
So before you start writing, conduct:
- Background research. This includes research papers, scientific literature and other existing material that others have dug up for you. Call it “homework.”
- Interviews. Probably the most popular way of gathering information, face-to-face or phone interviews are more effective when combined with background research and observation. (Note: Emailing? Not an interview!)
- Observation. Firsthand observation — being there — gives your copy color and insight that you can’t get any other way.
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