The Importance of Research Before Writing

00:00 Jan 01


Many people come up with an idea for an   essay  and they start to write, and usually what they will come up with is a base of where their focus will be, throughout the research process. Even if you are writing an  essay  on the benefits of vitamin C and you know all there is to know about vitamin C off the top of your head, you still need to research. Why? You need a comprehensive reference list. Also, you could think you know everything about a certain subject, but really what you know are half-correct amalgamations of facts. Research will solidify your understanding and knowledge of the subject you need to write about.

After the initial stage of choosing or coming up with a question, the next stage should be research, or in other words reading. Reading around your topic, and taking notes and mapping out where your argument will lie, is just as important as the writing process. It is during the research process that you will find the crux of your argument - that eureka moment that all of us have, when after eight hours in the library, we find what we have been looking for. Research can also uncover things that perhaps haven't been examined for a long time. There have been instances where new information is combined with old information in an academic's brain and together, these have given a whole new stance on a certain topic. What I mean is never underestimate the power of thorough research!

Here are some words of wisdom. Be careful during the research process - don't accept things at face value, especially if they are secondary sources. Find the original source and if you can, read that and quote directly. You'll be surprised to find that sometimes secondary quotations can be misquoted in order to fit into someone's argument, and at times can also have misspellings. Also, be especially careful when you are researching online. There are some solid sources on the Internet, but these can be coupled with flawed sources. It must be said here, by all means use Wikipedia as a starting point, but never, ever, ever reference Wikipedia in the body of your argument. It is a public encyclopaedia that anybody can change - for better and for worse.

Research, plan, write, edit and send your work to a proofreader who will help you iron out the kinks, and highlight instances where you may need to go back to your notes and pad out your argument. Imagine if you wrote an  essay  based on what you thought, and didn't research it at all - remember what we said about generalisations? Your entire argument will be one and you could be accused of plagiarism, which is something none of us want.