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How/Where do YOU research?

Forums Fiction Research and Worldbuilding How/Where do YOU research?

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  • #44478
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    I hate textbooks. I used to hate them because they were boring and I didn’t want to do my schoolwork. And, because I was homeschooled, there was always someone right there to make sure I didn’t procrastinate =P

    Now I hate them because they’re so ridiculously expensive and there are about a hundred I want to read because they seem like the most dense packets of valuable information available.

    In lieu of textbooks, I’ve been lurking around the internet for useful books on the history of Chinese literature. After excitedly reading some Wuxia and Xianxia I felt inspired to write something like it! Then I asked someone far more versed in the genres than I to look at it and found I was missing the point to the extent of cultural insult. Whoops.

    So I started looking around for methods to learn the creative lineage of those genres. Expensive options aside, I found a dense survey by Herbert Giles that was less than a buck on Kindle, and a friend pointed me toward the fascinating and esoteric Christ the Eternal Tao, which I’m still parsing with care.

    Between just those two texts I’m finding dozens of further, deeper sources to draw upon, if I can find them, and beginning to realize how fumbling my eager appropriation really was.

    In your own research of real world stuffs, where and how do you research? This is really a very new activity for me so I’m sure I’m missing something vital. “Try the library” is the obvious answer but my local branch is terribly small and has a stuttering ILL pace.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #50306
    Rachel Rogers
    @scribbles

    I would check into what online resources (like databases) your library has. Local libraries can have good stuff, but since you mentioned the price of textbooks I’m guessing you might be enrolled in some level of school? My college had some great online databases (EbscoHost was my favorite…lots of scholarly articles). Also try Google Scholar. When you’re looking online, try to stick with sites that end in .edu and .org, since they are either scholarly or non-profit…both of those tend to have more reliable info. Obviously books are good, but small libraries make that harder. If you’re really stuck, you could try sending an email personally to a professor somewhere, or to a field expert. Sometimes they answer, sometimes they don’t, but it’s worth a shot.

    Also play around with keywords if you’re having trouble finding what you need. Sometimes I have to start broad and fine tune keywords as I find more info on my topic. It can be quite the sleuthing adventure sometimes. xD

    I hope that helps!

    Ambiverted INFP. Scribbles all the words. Names the plant friends. Secretly Edna the Piguirrel.

    #50480
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    @scribbles No, not in school, textbooks are just great =P Unfortunately that leaves me without access to any university databases, and my local library has no online presence or feature set. Thanks for the reference to Google Scholar! A lot of what I want to read is behind paywalls or out of print books, but it looks like a better starting point than pure Google.

    I’ve since starting the thread found Scribd is a weird hit or miss source of some scholarly books. I wish I’d discovered it sooner.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #50498
    Rachel Rogers
    @scribbles

    Haha! Agreed…good textbooks are a treasure! 😛 Another thing I just thought of is community colleges…some of them have resources you can access even if you aren’t enrolled, so if you have one at least semi-nearby, you should check if non-students can get an ID card and access the library resources.

    Ambiverted INFP. Scribbles all the words. Names the plant friends. Secretly Edna the Piguirrel.

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