Most of the time when we do an online search on any topic, the result is a listing of thousands of websites, many of which are useless because either the site or content has no clear basis in real facts. Sifting through all those search results looking for reliable content is extremely time consuming, but there’s a way to narrow those results down to exactly what you want.
Government sites: [your topic] site:.gov
Education sites: [your topic] site:.edu
PDFs: [your topic] filetype:pdf
Notice that the last one for PDFs does not use a dot (.) before the “pdf” – if you put in the dot, you won’t get any results.
This is helpful for all types of fiction writers, from historical fiction to literary fiction, who want to root their storylines or even a small portion of their story in fact. It’s especially important if you use anything real, like a town, religion, government, illness, food – you can read more about why this is important in my upcoming post, “Keeping It Real”.
If you know of some other great research hacks, please share them with fellow writers in the comments below!
Happy (and efficient) researching!