Research Queries

I promised myself I would post something every day, so I’m keeping my promise.  Its just that recent events have gotten me so annoyed that I’m not at all in a creative mood.  So I apologize in advance if this is below my usual level of so-so writing.

You know what?  Nevermind, I’ll just ramble and not write something.  Just think.

I have seasons 1 & 2 of NCIS for reference and 10 + 4 seasons of the Stargates. So I have plenty of reference material for my NCIS fic (Which since I’m watching it recently its become the forefront for a bit).  Except for the Ziva years.  I’ve seen episodes, but nothing that would give me a an idea about how to write Ziva or Jenny.  My sister claims Jenny is in season 2, but I haven’t seen all of season 2 yet.

Well, I have family for Navy references (My grandfather, Uncle, Aunt and cousin are all in the Navy or NROTC.  So I have somewhere to go for information other then the history section of the Navy’s website and wikipedia.

Here is a question to those who read this… Where do you do your most research?  Online?  Books?  Interviewing people around you?  For example, if you were writing a medical drama, or someone in your story had an injury, would you consult WebMD, a nurses handbook, or a nurse.  Perhaps all three?  Just wondering.  I know with original fiction people research alot in various ways, but what about Fanfiction.  Do you think it is just as important?  And do you make sure you have two or more sources for each fact or do you look it up, and decide its right?

I’m kinda curious about that now.  And how many people use Wikipedia as their definite source of information.  Like earlier today, My grandmother was telling me and my mother a story about her family and the fact they drank Pluto Water.  My mother and I had never heard of it so we looked it up to see if my Grandma’s memory was correct and it was.  According to Wiki, Pluto Water was a mineral rich bottled water, which acted much like a laxative would.

But if I was writing a story about the time period my Great Grandparents lived in and the time my grandma was a child, would I rely on just wiki?  Personally, I probably wouldn’t.  Wiki is good to have around when you need to remember something, check something out or want a starting place to start your research, but since its a user-edited encylcopedia and anyone can change it to say whatever they want (at least for awhile before someone who knows better corrects it) its not a good solid source for research.

An example I have of why Wiki is not a good definitive source is the Nelson Eddy/Jeanette MacDonald conflict.  Now there are two subgroups amongst the fans.  Well, those who care about it anyway, but half believe the two were happily married to other people, while another half believed they were in love with each other.  And for awhile the Wiki on these two stars would go back and forth wither or not the biography by Sharon Rich was true or not and wither Jeanette and Nelson had a love affair.   So someone who was just researching perhaps Operetta singers of the 1930s would be given false information depending on what fan he asked and what time he looked it up on Wiki.

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2 thoughts on “Research Queries

  1. A comment from a friend via AIM (Username removed):

    [11:18 P.M.]: I’ll research through google, concentrating on the sites that appear the most promising, like .nets or .orgs or .edus. Even wikipedia to get me started. Then, if I can’t find suitable information, or extensive information, I turn to my library… books, reference books, etc.

    [11:18 P.M.]: also, if I encounter anyone with expertise in the field, I’ll ask them random questions, explain why I’m asking, then ask more.

    [11:19 P.M.]: usually people will oblige me with an answer

    [11:20 P.M.]: go for it

    [11:20 P.M.]: I just want to have them all together so I can see it all at once (when people hopefully answer)

    [11:21 P.M.]: I would go to as many sources as you can, even if it’s just to verify what you already know. so yes, with the medical stuff, everything you listed would work, altogether.

    [11:21 P.M.]: fanfiction, in order to build your credibility, should be treated the same as original fiction. If you reference something that turns out wrong in either genre, it hurts your name anyway.

    [11:22 P.M.]: I research as if I were writing a research paper, I’ll look around to multiple places, and when information crops up dozens of times, I know it’s right

    [11:22 P.M.]: I use wikipedia as a stepping stone

  2. Google is my best friend for research. For House fics, medical facts are researched via WebMD – I’ll usually know what disease I want to be the final diagnosis, so I start from there, then look up symptoms and work backwards for different differentials… then I research treatments for each condition and kind of figure out where to go from there.

    In specific cases when I have to dig deeper, like with the fic where Cameron was pregnant with twins and they were gonna be delivered prematurely, I read up on RL stories and blogs with premies to understand the topic.

    Wikipedia I tend to use for broader themes, like for Ad Infinitum with the ancient greek/egyptian aspect of the story. Basically, if I don’t feel 100% confident on the subject matter, then I just don’t go into too much detail in the fic.

    I also use online translators on occasion.

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