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How to Research Your Electronic Information Product

“ 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.

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