As with writing skills, though, research skills are rarely taught — professors and mentors assume aspiring writers and students know or can figure out how to do good research. Thank heavens for Google, right? If you took a bibliography course in university, like me, you might still remember your “real” research skills ―that doesn’t include Wikipedia, Google, or any search engine. Before you start doing all the research for your next novel, you first need to keep in mind what ALL professors and publishing companies despise: plagiarism.
1. Be Diligent. Nobody said that being a sleuth was going to be easy. The Internet is not the only source of information. Libraries (remember them?) have a myriad of resources, including DVDs, microfilms, CDs, good old books, etc.
2. Do research of your research. I know it seems redundant but it’s important to double check your facts, especially when the information obtained comes from a dubious source.
3. Be selective. Use information effectively for a specific purpose.
4. Develop a scheme for tracking your work. Whether you audio/video record or take notes of your findings, make sure you save them in two different places and always back up your computer.
5. Avoid cutting and pasting. This could lead to plagiarism. Remember to cite properly and give credit to your sources.