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5 Tips For Finding Valuable Information To Enlighten Your Blog Audience

Scientia potential est. Knowledge is power, and that is doubly true for writers who create content that is – or is intended to be – rich in facts confirmed through credible sources.

Questions arise, however, regarding how much research is needed for the average blog article, and what constitutes a “good” source. The answers to these types of questions depend on many factors, which upon consideration will reveal the need and the nature of research when writing a blog.

Web research is like any other skill and a writer who thinks Google will do all the work has already lost the race. The five tips here will help any writer improve their content by being able to locate and present high-quality data.

1. Google Does NOT Know All

As alluded to above, a search engine can only do so much work, and the quality of that work is highly dependent on the user. Search engines use varying algorithms and have different business agendas, and therefore will often produce different results, especially when dealing with less familiar topics.

This is important because, while the results may vary among search engines, the particular pieces of information a writer needs to complete an article do not, which places the onus of the successful search on the writer. Practice refining searches, using advanced search tools and comparing search engines will better hone this skill.

2. No Wikipedia

Wikipedia is for lazy high school students with lazy teachers who have no concern for research integrity. It may sound distasteful and even a little elitist, but a website that so easily allows access by laypeople should be avoided. The problem is often not one of quality, but of murky verification when it comes to original source material.

As an alternative, Scholarpedia is a peer-reviewed open-source encyclopedia, but any writer worth his or her salt should be able to track down the original source even if it derives from a Wiki link. Following these links is also a good way for people to wean themselves off of Wikipedia, so that they may then begin to seek out peer-reviewed and published sources like news sites, journals, treatises and the like.

3. Double-Check Sources

Never trust the first link in the chain of information, especially if it does not come from a highly visible and reputable source such as a medical or legal journal. Using data and links from unknown websites is a recipe for disaster. A true scholarly work will trace sources back to the actual published material, but since blogs are not considered scholarly works this is hardly necessary.

Even so, if it can be done within a fair (and compensated) amount of time it should be done; however, a link to a reputable news or information website when stating a fact will suffice for a blog article.

4. Compartmentalize Searches

Search methods vary, but some techniques are more likely to save time than others. Some writers will fall into the trap of searching for the article they want to write in a wholesale fashion. This is a bad idea because it will suck the originality out of the intended article and also end up being a worthless link.

This can be avoided by parsing the information in the article into segments that can then be independently searched. That way people are actually getting value for their click-through and the article does not end up sounding like – or making the same point as – an article that has already been written.

5. Know Your Sources

This is less of a skill and more of a commitment to the trade of writing blogs, because it requires the blogger to constantly be absorbing material and evaluating publications. It’s simply a matter of being well-read.

A writer will never gain an encyclopedic knowledge of every available source, but a writer can become more aware of potential sources through consuming the information found in them even during downtime. The easiest way to do this is to get into the habit of reading multiple news sources instead of just those papers that reprint articles off of the newswire.

Writers and bloggers who take advantage of these tips will have a great deal more success when conducting research for their own blog articles, and will enjoy a more satisfied – and loyal – readership.

This article was written by James Madeiros, Staff Writer for Criminal Justice Degree Schools, which provides information on criminal justice careers and how to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice.

Bogdan

Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.

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