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Research Strategies for Reference Materials

Research Strategies for Reference Materials

August 17, 2020 By Kate Fedewa O’Connor

At the beginning of the semester, I tell my students that the best editors are good researchers. I mean this to be reassuring—they don’t need to memorize every entry in the AP Stylebook or learn every grammar rule by heart. But while we have stylebooks and dictionaries and usage guides, we also have the bottomless pit of internet data. Editors need to know where they can go when stumped—and that much potential reference material can be overwhelming.

New editors need to develop specific strategies for using reference materials effectively.

With something as convenient as a Google search bar just a click away, taking the time to get to know a stylebook or other reference guides doesn’t always seem worth it. The suggestions below will increase your overall efficiency by helping you search within sources and manage the data you gather.

Research is an art, and becoming a good researcher takes time. Ask yourself what you already know, what resources you need, and which research approach will yield the best results.

Research Strategies for Reference Materials was originally published in Tracking Changes (Spring 2020 edition). Members receive a PDF of the quarterly Tracking Changes newsletter by email.

Header photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

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