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the word RESEARCH spelled in Scrabble letters on a diagonal

Documenting Your Research

Documenting Your Research: Best Practices for the Indie Author

the word RESEARCH spelled in Scrabble letters on a diagonal

Do your research—and track it, too. CC image Research photo credit: Phlebotomy Tech. Some rights reserved.

How do I keep track of where I found my information? What information or which sources are okay to use? Do I need to worry about format?

I work with a lot of nonfiction authors, and I get this type of question a lot. But questions of research apply to all writers, whether fiction or nonfiction. You shouldn’t lay claim to work that is not yours, for reasons of credibility and because legally, it’s the wise thing to do.*

When I discuss documenting research with my authors, I include an additional layer of consideration, equally important to the creative process, although not a legal requirement: how can you best keep track of your sources in a manner that most supports your writing? This addition is important to me because of the ways writers can get sucked down rabbit holes of research, whether to answer legitimate questions or as a way to avoid writing.

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