Using Research More Effectively
Lately I've been doing a lot of research. I'm writing a historical fiction novel set in the 1830's, a series of blog posts on a current controversial subject, and a series of articles on women of the Bible. Here are a few tips I've learned to keep myself organized, and few things I plan to do with that research to capitalize on the effort. If you are doing research these tips may save you time and increase your productivity.
First, for each project in which research will be involved I created a new file on my computer where I'd save my Work In Progress and within it I labeled another file "research." Then within that file I created several new folders for pictures, articles, and links. As I did my research I was able to quickly save the image, article, or link to the appropriate folder.
Before saving I always copy and paste the URL to the bottom of the document so I know where I clipped that info. There are programs you can use that do this for you such as Evernote's Web Clipper http://evernote.com/webclipper/
I also have a wonderful tool called the IRIS Pen that allows me to use the scanner pen on printed books to copy to my computer, which is great when doing library research. www.irislink.com/irispen
So, why would I do all of this recording if I am simply writing an article or chapter in my book. Wouldn't I just save it to my desktop and blow it away once the article or chapter is written? No. I want to use that material and time invested to create new material. For instance, in my novel I use the research but I am planning ahead to blog posts and articles on beauty treatments used in the 1800's, the cholera outbreak in NY, the building of the railroads in the northeast. In my research on the women of the Bible I'm writing the blog articles, but I am planning to use my research to create a book and a Bible study so what doesn't make it into my blog posts will be used.
Bottom line: create a plan to save and organize your research and then plan now for how you might repurpose that time and research in new and creative ways.