Friday, 20 September 2013



When you're doing research or looking for information on a

particular subject, it's a lot like a detective checking all his

possible clues. The important thing is knowing who and where your

sources are.

In almost all instances, your first move should be to your

encyclopedia. if you don't have an up-to-date set, there's always

your public library.

Most of the time, and encyclopedia will give you at least the

general facts about your subject. You may have to check other

sources for more detailed information.

Thus, your next move should be books that have been written on

the subject. The subject and title sections of the card catalog

or the bound volumes of computer printouts in most public

libraries will give you plenty of listings.

After you've selected a number of books for background

information, check the magazines either directly related to your

subject, or those carrying articles on the subject. Most of the

time, you'll find that magazines will provide you with more

up-to-date timely information than books.

To check out information on your subject in magazines, look in

the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. Under subject and

author headings, the complete collection of this guide will list

articles printed in magazines since the turn of the century. The

Suggestions For Use section will instruct you on how to read the

codes under each heading. If you can't find your subject listed,

think of similar subjects that might be related.

If your subject is part of a particular field of study, there may

be a special index that will help you. Among these special

indexes, you'll find: Art Index, Business Periodicals Index,

Consumers Index, Education Index, Humanities Index, Social

Science Index, Biological and Agricultural Index, and Applies

Sciences and Technology Index. You'll even find a Popular

Periodicals Index which lists articles that have appeared in

currently popular magazines.

You'll also find that most newspapers are veritable goldmines of

reference material. Most of the big city newspapers have

computerized indexes. Several of the special national newspapers

such as Wall Street Journal also have reference indexes.

Without a doubt, the New York Times Index is the most complete.

In these newspaper indexes, subjects and people are listed

alphabetically with the date, page number, and usually with the

number of columns devoted to that particular story. About all you

have to do to avail yourself of this information is to stop by

the newspaper office, tell them the kind of information you're

looking for, and ask their help in locating it within their


FACTS ON FILE: is a world news digest that's found at most public

libraries. This is a weekly publication that's broken down into

four categories; World Affairs, U.S Affairs, Other Nations, and


EDITORIALS ON FILE: is a similar service that comes out twice

each month. It is a survey of newspaper editorials than span a

wide range of subjects.

If you want to known about business trends, you should ask for

and look at the Moody's reports. These cover banking and finance,

industry and public utilities.

Most large libraries also keep pamphlet files for brochures from

various information services and government agencies. Be sure to

ask about these.

Whenever you have a question or want more information on a

subject, always check first in the material that has been written

about it. Public libraries and newspapers are free, and will

definitely point you in the right direction even if you don't

know much about sources.

One of the best sources of information is people. Ask around and

more often than not, you'll find someone right in your own area

who is well versed on your subject. An introductory phone call

and an explanation as why you're researching the subject will

almost always lead you to many people who'll be glad to talk with


Interviewing and talking with people will give you the chance to

ask questions and hear specific explanations about details that

may not be fully covered in a book, newspaper or other


Researching and gathering information on a particular subject can

be fun, exciting, and very informative. It will never be dull or

boring. The important thing is to search out all the available

sources, and then to take advantage of them. From there, you'll

find it's very much like putting a jigsaw puzzle together; the

closer you get to completing the picture, the more excited you


Many people find that when they begin a research project on a

specific subject, they quickly uncover so many interesting

related subjects that it's hard to confine their enthusiasm to

just the one subject. This is what learning is all about,

regardless of the use you eventually make of the informative you

gather. The more you learn, the more you want to learn.

Curiosity about all things, and good, basic research are the

prime requisites for any successful writer. To have read about or

experienced only a few aspects of a given subject won't interest

very many people. What the people want is a thorough discussion

of the subject from as many different points of view as possible.

This, of course, requires research, and to do research, you have

to know where to find the material you want.

Hopefully, we've "turned you own" with the idea that the

information you're interested in is available and virtually at

your fingertips. All it takes is just a bit of effort on your

part to avail yourself of it. Just remember, whatever has been

thought of or dreamed of by man since the reasonable amount of

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