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Lawson

Research sites for your story

Research is a delight for some and a sin for others. It can enhance your story when you do the right amount. It can stop it in its tracks when you do too much.

And it’s easy to do too much! Once I don my digital archaeologist cap it’s difficult to take it off. No matter what topic I choose I can get lost in the minutia, the side-stories, the unintended consequences of this or that small event…

So I set a timer using Google. Just type “timer” into the search box and you’ll get an obnoxious alarm every [n] minutes.

Then I’ll head to one of the following sites, to the tune of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Because I just know I’ll come back to this world with some treasure.

“This artifact belongs in a story!” I’ll say and laugh at my own joke while my keyboard cat looks at me weird.

My favorite sites (even though I actually despise using a couple of them):

CIA

Yup. That CIA. They have stacks of data on topics ranging from population to economies to weather patterns.

Best History Sites

This is a useful if you’re researching a time period. They collect the best history sites in one place. Handy!

BBC

BBC has spent years building an online history content platform, and it’s paying off. It’s a go-to resource for fascinating insights and spectacular multimedia experiences.

Quora

Ask a question and you’re likely to find a pro with incredible, free info. You need to be a member to use the site. Small price to pay.

WolframAlpha

How well can data tell a story? Type in your hometown’s name in the search field and you’ll get your answer.

 

Reference.com

Ugliest. Site. Ever. It’s more committed to distracting you from your research than guiding you through it. Still, it’s packed with juicy info, so thumbs up. But try to stay focused. Don’t take their quiz to find out what weather pattern you are, or somesuch nonsense.

Sure, there are hundreds of other sites, but these are the tools in my belt. What do you use for research? Let us know on our Facebook page!

By Ben Zackheim