A World with no Research

I’m a writer, and I live, breathe, and eat research most of the time. Tasty, tasty research, in some cases. But that’s a different blog post. A lot of my friends are also writers, and they understand this. But what if you couldn’t research?


I’m writing this post from a dead time at work, while I wait for a reaction to proceed before I can do another step. A few minutes, here and there, and I’ll have a whole post written up and ready to go. What I can’t really do right now is research, since I try to be aware of how I’m using my work computer, knowing eyes are on me at all times. I might be overly cautious, but then again, I’m a writer. Subjects I research can get… interesting. I had a post topic I really wanted to do, but it will have to wait until I’m home and have an hour or two to really tear into the research on it, because I want to present solid data, not anecdotes alone.


Because what if what you know isn’t so? I mean, I’m fairly sure of my facts for this post. What I want to do is provide persuasive links for others to dig into. I’m not about to ask them to simply take my word for it. Down that rabbit hole lies madness, and assumptions, and we all know what assuming does.


I’m usually inclined to research any post I do, just because I like research. I learn things, most of the time, when I look something up, even something I’m comfortably knowledgeable on. This makes me happy, and hopefully, a better writer to boot, both in my fiction and non-fiction. So right at the moment, when I can’t easily research, I’m stuck blogging on other things, which don’t require the stringency that my planned post does. Like what? you ask.


Good question. Blogs like this, which are pretty much my opinion. Research is good, data is great, relying on anecdotes is not data. I am fairly sure – no, I am certain – that there are those who would argue with me that anecdotal posts full of emotional pulls are the best. Just write it, they might say, if it feels right. Amanda Green wrote over on her blog today about people who are proud of not knowing what they are going to say until they open their mouth and say it. And then she goes on to illustrate that with ways it can go horribly, horribly wrong. There is a time and place for rambling on until you figure out what you’re trying to say – national live television is not it. Also, the longer you meander, the less your potential readers (or listeners) will stay on track with you. I’m sure there’s statistics for that, I just can’t get them right at the moment!


Which is why the sweet spot of a blog post is supposed to be between 500-1000 words. I violate that fairly often, going upwards toward 2000 words when I’m on a tear. Adding in links that contain more words I’m asking folks to go read before they finish with my words, and I run the risk of my research drowning the point I was trying to make. But that’s what posts like my short lil’ cyborg post are about, cool articles that I think my readers might like, without unnecessary commentary from me.


A world without research or fact-checking is a very limited, constrained world. Assumptions lurk behind every paragraph, waiting to ambush the unwary. Emotional snares lie hidden in the grass for the empty-headed who persist in subsisting on feelings alone. Confirmation bias hobbles the writer who is operating under their own mindset with no external checks.

Edited to add: Sorry about the lack of paragraph spacing. I copied and pasted this from an email to my phone, and in the edit screen I can see the gaps, but on looking at the post, they had mysteriously disappeared. I think I have it fixed, now.


One response to “A World with no Research”

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard Avatar
    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Nod, “without research” you’re left with only your personal knowledge and opinions.

    Your personal knowledge can be limited and/or being incorrect (as to facts).

    Of course, being based on limited knowledge (or incorrect knowledge) your opinions may not match the reality.