Research an Article in 20 Minutes
Taking the time to thoroughly research the topic that you intend to write an article on is likely a major part of the overall time required to complete the project. If you approach researching the topic without the proper methodology, you may find yourself wasting hours doing unnecessary searching.
Learning to perform the research portion efficiently is an invaluable skill set for any high level writer. This being said, learning to do so will save you an immense amount of time and allow you to complete a larger number of articles within the same period of time.
Based upon your topic, determine what you are looking for, why, and what you are NOT looking for. Outline some ideas for different headers in your article. Creating headers gives you the boundaries for what to search for when researching each specific section's information. Outlining is an indispensable tool that aids in the process of researching and crafting the content of an article.
Learn to Speak to Search Engines
Search engines work best using keywords combined into phrases. Most search engines are not designed to search actual questions such as "how do I make an effective resume?" So, reduce the search criteria in this case to simply "effective resume."
Avoid using articles (the, a), prepositions (for, from), conjunctions (because, but), or pronouns (her, it). Sticking to nouns and objects as your keywords is most effective. Use modifiers when you need to narrow your search, such as "green apples," instead of only "apples."
Use Boolean Operators
Named after the 19th century mathematician, Boolean searching is extremely helpful. The Internet contains an immeasurable amount of information, and the best method of searching it is to use keywords, as mentioned, and to connect them with the Boolean operators "and," "or," and "and not." Connecting keywords with "and" will return only results that contain all of the keywords.
Using "or" is best for searching the synonyms of a keyword. This way, you can cover more ground by including any other words that describe your criteria. "And not" is used to exclude criteria that is unrelated to your search. It is best to capitalize Boolean operators. Some search engines even require it.
Learning to effectively skim text for the information you want is a skill that takes time to develop. Practice looking over entire paragraphs while looking past unimportant aspects of the text. Try to focus only on the keywords you've determined you are looking for. There's no need to scour every word of a text to find its relevancy. When you identify an article that addresses your criteria, take the time to read it carefully.
The old adage again proves true - only with practice will you be able to research quickly and effectively all of the time. Employing the above methods will streamline your research and help to improve your overall writing process.
You might run across some topics for which information is scarce, but you should be able to successfully approach the majority of articles with the same focus and methodology. With time, learning how to efficiently research an article will become second nature, and seeking information for your articles will not seem to be such a laborious task.
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