General Tips and Advice on Researching and Using Research in Written Works
There are two types of resources used in research, primary and secondary sources. Knowing and using both types of sources effectively will enhance the authority and authenticity of any written text dealing with specific time period, topic, etc…
Secondary sources are documents that are generally written after an event/time period has taken place. They are often academic papers, historical documents recorded after the time period, etc…
Primary sources are documents that are recorded by eye-witnesses, or within the historical time period. They often include newspapers, diaries, radio/television broadcasts, and paintings/photographs and other artistic expressions.
There are many resources available to writers of all genres, levels and types of writing. It is important to remember that when taking from other sources to use discretion in deciding whether a citation/accreditation will be required.
A writer may be inspired by their research; however, it is important to be aware that should there be any direct quotation or borrowing of ideas that those are considered intellectual property and are protected under copyright laws.
There are many resources available and with some creativity and thoughtful research generally writers will be able to find any information they require.
Most universities subscribe to a variety of online research tools and databases for their students to use. While many of them are accessible only with a student/professor ID, some of the sources are available for free. Search university websites (usually under the library page), and go through the databases they suggest for students, this will allow you to get to know which online databases are free and which may be of use to your research.
Online resources are extremely accessible; however, it is important to remember that each website and source should be taken and evaluated for credibility. Just because something is published online does not mean that it is a reliable source.
Go old school and explore the local libraries and print resources.
Online Resources, Tools, and Thought Provoking Websites
The Internet can be an effective tool and resource for writers looking for more information on the craft of writing, professional development, and research.
Here is a brief list of the many resources available online to writers and artists:
Places for Writers (www.placesforwriters.com): This website includes information on publishers (providing a list of possible publishers in each province), and links to multiple resources for writers including links to writers’ guilds and organizations, and sites concerning the writing profession.
The Writers’ Union of Canada (www.writersunion.ca): This site contains information on how to find a publisher, submitting manuscripts, and provides a template for contracts and lists of Canadian literary agents.
Association of Canadian Publishers (www.publishers.ca): This site provides information on how to approach a publisher, markets, literary agents, and provides a variety of links to valuable resources for writers.
The Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia (http://books.bs.ca): The Association of Book Publishers of British Columbia provides valuable information for authors looking to be published. The site contains information on book proposals and literary agents, as well as links to other websites.
The Editors’ Association of Canada (www.editors.ca): This website provides web links to information on a wide variety of topics including literary associations, books, publishing, copyright, dictionaries and grammar.
Canadiana (www.canadiana.ca/en/home): This site is an online source for Canadian history and culture. Canadian would be an excellent resource for any writer looking to write on Canada or even just learn about our nation.
CBC Archives (http://archives.cbc.ca/): The CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Company) has been covering Canadian and international news since November 2, 1936. This source allows its users access to radio and television clips as well as historical facts with the click of a mouse. The archives are a good primary source.
XooxleAnswers (http://xooxleanswers.com/newspaperarchives.aspx): This website provides links to various newspaper archives from around the world. Take note that some of the links require payment/subscription prior to accessing the information.
The Cambridge Dictionaries Online (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/): One of many online dictionaries and thesaurus. Generally, these sources provide general definitions and antonym/synonym references. However, some writers will want to have a print copy of a good quality dictionary and thesaurus or a subscription to an online resource such as the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) online. Some print dictionaries include Webster’s and the OED (compact or full version).
Literature and Latte (www.literatureandlatte.com): This website provides a detailed list along with links to various writing software products available to writers using both Microsoft applications as well as Apple programs.
Canada Revenue Agency (www.cra-arc.gc.ca/search/menu-e.html): In the search bar type “writers”, this will lead to information concerning income tax for writers both in PDF and html format.
Canadian Intellectual Property Office (www.cipo.ic.gc.ca/): This Canadian government website provides a space were writers and artists alike can find information on copyright issues as well as where to register their works.
Canadian Writer’s Journal (www.cwj.ca): The Canadian Writer’s Journal is an independent writer’s magazine online that provides a list of useful links to various resources for writers.
Predators and Editors (www.invirtuo.cc/prededitors/): This website provides information and links on a variety of topics that concern writers including editors, contracts, and explanations.
Worldwide Freelance (www.worldwidefreelance.com/): A website dedicated to freelance writers. This site provides general information on what kinds of markets freelancers can use as well as articles and other resources.
History Sourcebook Project (www.fordham.edu/halsall/): This website provides links and access to manuscripts and primary sources from Ancient times through to the modern era. This site would be of great use for any writer looking to write a historical work based outside of Canada.
Saskatchewan Arts Board (www.artsboard.sk.ca): This site is a source for grants and funding for writers.
Canadian Publishers’ Council (www.pubcouncil.ca): This site is a source for publishers and publishing information.
First Choice Books (www.firstchoicebooks.ca): This website provides information on self-publishing and services for writers including printing and binding.
POWIS (www.powis.com): Provides information concerning printing and binding, as well as a glossary of terms associated with publishing.
Spywriter.com (www.spywriter.com): This website provides a writer’s firsthand experience at getting published and searching for an agent, as well as, general information/tips on what a writer can expect while querying agents and working through the publishing process. This site also provides lists of agents/agencies and publishers.
Absolute Write (www.absolutewrite.com): An open forum where writers can have their questions answered by peers. This website is in an open discussion format, some information will be based off of people’s own experiences and should be verified or judged by the reader.
Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) (www.bookcentre.ca): Information for children’s writers and illustrators.
Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers (www.canscaip.org): Provides a variety of information for artists working in the genre of children’s books.
League of Canadian Poets (www.poets.ca): This website provides member services as well as information concerning contests, events, and links all relating to poetry.
Saskatchewan Romance Writers (www.saskromancewriters.4t.com/): This website is focused on romance writers; however the site also provides general information concerning writing, research, and blogs for writers.
The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (www.bookcentre.ca): The Canadian Children’s Book Centre webpage provides information for readers and writers alike. There is a section on awards that may be helpful for any writer looking to submit their work for publication.
Protagonize (www.protagonize.com): An online place where writers can express themselves by posting their own stories, or by joining discussion forums. Note, this website is for writers of a wide variety of skill levels.
Literary Translators’ Association of Canada (www.attlc-ltac.org/): This website provides information for writers and literary translators alike.
Wordwrights Canada (www.wordwrights.ca/): Wordwrights Canada contains general information for writers of all levels. The website also provides a list of awards that are directed at young writers.
Quebec Writers’ Federation (www.qwf.org/links.html): Quebec Writers’ Federation provides excellent links to other literary websites.
Writing-World.com (www.writing-world.com): An online resource for writers. This site provides articles on a variety of topics ranging from organizing an office space to copyright infringement.
Query Shark (http://queryshark.blogspot.com): This site provides tips on how to write query letters and what not to do. The site uses submissions from other writers to show how to correct and edit a query.
rachellegardner blog (http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com): This website provides general information for writers looking to have their works published, as well as information on author-agent contracts.
Backspace- The Writer’s Place (http://bksp.org): The website provides information and articles for writers from a variety of sources.
WOW! (http://wow-womenonwriting.com): This website is directed toward women writers, providing a variety of information concerning literary issues.
Oxford Dictionaries (http://oxforddictionaries.com/): This website requires a subscription; however, it can be a valuable resource for writers as an online dictionary.
Baby Name World (www.babynameworld.com): This website is a good source of inspiration for writers looking for character names. The website can be searched by region, or year.
Bartleby.com (http://bartleby.com): This website provides its users free access to public domain literary works.
Flashlight Worthy Books (www.flashlightworthybooks.com): This site is of interest to lovers of all types of books. Flashlight Worthy Books provides its users with detailed lists of books worth reading.
ipl2 Special Collections (http://ipl.org/div/farq/): This website provides users with access to a range of general information on a variety of topics.
Word Central (http://wordcentral.com/): This site contains an online dictionary along with a variety of other resources all focused on language.
Saskatchewan Publishers Group (www.saskpublishers.sk.ca): This site provides general information for writes looking for information on the publishing industry in Saskatchewan.
Writers’ Guild of Canada (www.writersguildofcanada.com): The Writers’ Guild of Canada provides writers with a variety of information along with special member services.
JSTOR (www.jstor.org): An online database of articles. This website requires a membership to access all of the articles available. However, it is important to note that many Universities provide their students with access to such databases.
The SWG is not in affiliation with any of these websites, they are only recommended resources for writers.
Whether you are looking for information on a historical event or looking for information about contracts and income tax there are many resources available to writers, artists, and the general public.
The Public Library: Although many written works can be found electronically, the local library is an excellent resource to all writers. Today in Saskatchewan, the public libraries are all interconnected allowing inter-library loans; this means that if your local library is has a small collection patrons now have access to library catalogues from across the province. As well, the most libraries offer free Internet access.
Local and Provincial Writing Organizations: The writing community in Saskatchewan is rich with talent, creativity, and innovation. Whether you are a beginning writer or a published author gaining access to your provincial and community based writing organization can be a beneficial resource, providing inspiration, support, and insight.
Local Universities: If you are a university student or alumni you ought to have access to the vast resources available through your local university. Both the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina offer students and alumnus career advice, academic and research support, as well as access to university groups such as an English Undergraduate Society and to the expertise of the faculty.
Workshops, Festivals, Conferences, and Other Arts and Community Events: Many cities, communities, and arts organizations run various programs including workshops, festivals, and conferences. Whether you are beginning writer or someone who is established in the literary community, these events and workshops are important resources in developing the craft of writing and often will be enlightening when it comes to professional development.
Books on the Craft of Writing and Professional Development: There are many how-to, advice books, and style manuals available to writers at every stage of development. Contact your local writers’ organization for suggestions on the best craft books, or visit the local office for use of their library (the SWG offers members access to an extensive library of Saskatchewan writers and of craft books).
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