"An Itty Bitty Column on Writing" by Mindy Phillips Lawrence
From Sharing with Writers (Carolyn Howard-Johnson)
March 25, 2009
Many of us work on articles, novels and other forms of writing for which we much do research. Thanks to the Internet, the job is much simpler than it used to be. However, sometimes it is still daunting.
Recently, my goal was to make a connection between Ireland and Germany in the years leading up to World War II, particularly in 1938. I didn’t know if there was an association but, thanks to Google, I found what I wanted.
If you do non-fiction writing or have a business helping others do research, you know how indispensible it is to know how to do good literary detective work. Google is not the only source.
I am fortunate to have a large public library system where I live and very good personnel there who will help me find what I need. They also allow me to interlibrary loan resources that they don’t have in house. Because of this, I have books from several far-flung college libraries in my stack at home.
Also, if there are colleges and universities in your city, or nearby, you can usually join them for a small amount annually and have access to their works. I am a member of the Missouri State Library System, Mineral Area College Library in Park Hills, MO and the Magale Library at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas where I graduated. I will soon add the Missouri State University Library System here in Springfield.
Your local college or university often has faculty personnel willing to help you with research questions. Even if you are trying to figure out a computer problem, you can often call a community college or university and get someone to help you. If you are doing research in a particular field, you might call that department and find a faculty member who will answer your questions.
By use of the Internet and through referrals, you can often find those who have direct experience in the topic you are researching. For instance, if you need to figure out a police procedure, you could call the non-emergency number of your local police department, or make a trip there in person, and find someone willing to speak with you about what you want to know.
The Internet has many lists of those who are professionals who are willing to answer your questions so get out there and find your answers.
University of Wisconsin Expert Database
California State University Expert Database
Monmouth University Expert Database
Washington University (St. Louis) Expert Database
University of Virginia Expert Database
University of Arkansas Expert Database
Louisiana Tech University Expert Database
Penn State Expert Database – Criminal Justice and Race