Most of you probably know Morgan Dusky from Studies in Character. She’s the one who writes the questions for the Character Studies (character interviews) I do. A little while ago, she also created the website Reliable Research for Writers, or RRW for short. Here’s Morgan wrote on the “About” page for it, since I think she explains it better than I can.
The idea for the RRW was founded when an amateur writer made the realization that she tended to procrastinate from researching for her novels. She knew she had to research more, but dreaded the idea… until she wondered if it’d be possible for research to all be in one place. What would happen if one writer’s research could be shared, and used to help out other writers?
The point of the RRW isn’t quite to be another Wikipedia, but something hopefully a little more reliable. Some writers can share their research, while others can add to what’s already there, confirm that their research matches that of others, or dispute the reliability of something, until eventually, there exists something that can help out other writers who know nothing about the subject. (And with a list of sources, it will also give them an excellent place to start their very own research!)
Anyhow, I think the RRW is a lovely place, and the point of this post is that I’m hosting a research week for the site! To pay all credit where credit is due, Morgan is the one who actually came up with the idea of a research week–I’m just bringing it to fruition.
So, what is a research week? Well, as you probably already guessed (because you’re all very smart) it’s a week in which research is done!
No, really? Pretty much, what we’re doing here is to try to research as much as we can (or at least more than usual) in order to start filling up the RRW with research, share your research with other writers, read others’ research, and fill yourselves with glorious knowledge.
My invitation is this: join me
and we shall rule the galaxy on the third week of May to research stuff with a bunch of other people! 😀 Also, you should share the joy and tell every writer or basically everyone that you know about this and that you’re participating! I want as many people as possible to take part in this as possible. (Plus, sharing it means that you get to use the gorgeous header picture, so that should be reason enough.)
However, you may have some questions before you begin, and I’m here to answer the FAQ. (Or, at least, what I assume the FAQ would be. I don’t actually know yet, because no one has asked them to me yet. So. They’re Predicted Frequently Asked Questions. PFAQ. Yeah.)
WHEN IS IT, EXACTLY?
It starts on Sunday, May 15th and ends at the end of the day
*sings Les Mis* on Saturday, May 21st.
WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO RESEARCH?
Whatever you want to research! It can relate to your book(s), which might be the most useful (I have to research the effects of nuclear radiation for one book, and how the moon affects ocean tides for another), but it can have nothing to do with your writing at all and just be anything you’re interested in. (For example, I have this strange interest in learning about the Roman Empire.) In short, research whatever makes you happy!
HOW MUCH AM I SUPPOSED TO RESEARCH?
If you want to go the extra mile, research as much as you can, and if you want to go the extra two miles, try to submit a new research piece to the RRW every day! But, at minimum, I’m challenging everyone to research at least 15 minutes every day that week (which, really, isn’t that hard).
WHAT IF I’M NOT A WRITER? CAN I STILL RESEARCH?
Yes, please! We would love to have your research in the RRW and to have you participate in the research week! (And I’ll give you virtual cookies, so you should totally do it.)
WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT THAT WEEK?
First of all, I’m really sorry, because I’m expecting this to be awesome. But secondly, remember the RRW is around 24/7. Just because you can’t research with the rest of us doesn’t mean you can’t research at all! Either research before or afterward, or try to squeeze in a little research time into your week. Even five minutes a day means you could have a submission done by the end of the week!
Also, if you’ve done research previously that you can submit to the RRW, please do so! Research doesn’t have to come solely from this week.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A RRW SUBMISSION?
I am so glad you asked. You can find them here, on the RRW website. The actual formatting rules are pretty loose, but remember to cite your sources!
WHERE DO I SUBMIT MY INFORMATION TO THE RRW?
After you’ve made sure you meet the formatting requirements, you can submit your work here, through the RRW website.
HOW DO I FIND RELIABLE SOURCES?
Chances are that most sources you find during your research will be reliable and good. However, on the chance that they’re not, here’s some tips and tricks to see, at a glance, if your information is reliable (note: this only applies to websites, as books are generally already reliable due to the editing process they go through):
- Check to see if the website cites its own sources. Chances are, if it does, it’s reliable.
- Look through several different websites to see if the information is the same on all of them. If it is, it’s more likely to be reliable.
- Check to see how recently the website was updated or written. If you’re looking for current scientific advances, something published in 2000 won’t be reliable.
- Look for bias (someone arguing for something, rather than explaining). Biased websites are less likely to have reliable information.
- Look up online “reliable website check”. You’ll find plenty more suggestions, tips, and checklists on how to determine a website’s reliability.
- Don’t spend all your time trying to figure out whether a website is reliable instead of researching. Just do your best, and remember that other people will be able to read over your research and offer suggestions if something was wrong with the source. You’ll do great!
I HAVE A QUESTION THAT YOU DIDN’T ANSWER. WHO DO I ASK?
You can ask me in the comments here, or through the email firstname.lastname@example.org, where Morgan will answer you. We’re happy to help!
So, how many of you are planning to do the research week challenge with me? What do you want to research, and why? Do you have any tips about research that you can share with us? Are you excited? I am, and remember to share this with anyone who’d be interested in joining so we can make this as big and fantastic as possible!