How to Research Your Electronic Information Product
By Stephen Bucaro
If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants
What Sir Isacc Newton, inventor of the reflecting telescope and the mathematical
principles of calculus, meant when he made the above statement was that he didn't
create all his famous discoveries by himself. Instead, he built on the discoveries
of such great scientists as Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. The fact is that
nobody creates anything from scratch, we all use other peoples work as resources
in our research.
To do research for your information product, start by getting a copy of somebody
else's work. I didn't say COPY somebody else's work, that would be plagiarism and
copyright violation. Plagiarism is unethical and copyright violation is illegal.
But using ideas and information from somebody else's work is entirely legal and
ethical, it's called using the work as a resource. As long as you put those ideas
and that information in your own words.
You should use several pieces of other peoples work in your research. In fact, the
more sources that you use for research, the better your information product should
be. But keep in mind that you need to limit the scope of your research to the
topic and purpose of your information product. Everything in the world is inter-related,
so any topic can be expanded infinitely. One of the most important characteristics
of a good writer is their ability to properly limit the scope of their product.
Start your research by gathering information resources. These may be books,
periodicals, information from Web sites, even other peoples electronic information
products. The amount of research material that you need depends upon the size of your
project. For a typical ebook product, you should start with the equivalent of at
least two books. Next, study those materials.
Your goal in studying your research materials is to gain an overview of the subject,
and create an initial outline. Then start writing notes and organizing them under
each subtitle in your outline. When you get your outline and notes sufficiently
filled out, it's time to start writing your first draft.
Here's the steps for researching your electronic information product:
1. Collect materials
2. Study those materials
3. Edit your outline
4. Write notes
5. Integrate those note into your first draft
This is an iterative process, because as you begin to write, you'll recognize that
there's some piece of information you're missing in order to make your product
complete. Or as you're writing, you'll recognize that you don't fully understand
the concept that your writing about. More research is required. Go back to step
one in the list.
One of the greatest advantages to writing, and teaching, is that those are the
best ways to LEARN something. You'll know right away when you're writing or teaching
something that you don't completely understand.