Doing research for a writing project can feel like a daunting task. If you’re researching a complex topic that you are unfamiliar with, just figuring out where to start can seem almost impossible.
Picking up a nonfiction book on your subject doesn’t always help, especially if it’s filled with terms and concepts you aren’t familiar with.
Luckily, there are things you can do that can make starting your research on any subject, no matter how complex, a little less overwhelming.
Pay a Visit to the Children’s Library
No matter what subject you’re researching, chances are someone has written a book for children on that subject.
The great thing about these children’s nonfiction books is that they’re written so that, no matter how complex the subject, young readers will be able to understand it. And, in order to hold the interest of a younger audience, they are written in a way that makes them much more fun to read than most nonfiction books written for adults.
Children’s books are a great place to start researching an unfamiliar subject. Then, once you have a basic grasp of terms and concepts, you can move on to the adult section of the library.
Watch Some Documentaries
Another good place to start your research is with documentaries.
Watching a subject be brought to life through pictures and “live” narration is much more engaging than reading some dry historical or scientific text, especially if it’s a subject you know little about. Then, once you’re more familiar with the subject, you’ll have a better idea how to go about doing the rest of your research.
Read Books “for Writers”
There have been books written especially for writers on a variety of subjects. The idea behind these books is to give writers a basic overview of the subject in one handy, easy to understand resource. So, instead of needing to read dozens of books about your subject, you can find a lot of the information you need in just one.
You can find such books on countless subjects, from historical eras, to detective work, to medicine. Most have titles like “The Writer’s Guide to the Law” or “Victorian England for Writers.”
Depending on the scope of your project, these books “for writers” might or might not contain all of the information you need. But they are an excellent place to start.
For many of us, research can be the most intimidating part of the writing process. But it doesn’t have to be. Any of these resources can help you delve into your subject with more confidence. Not only will they help make doing research less intimidating, they can also help make it fun and interesting.