Research is an integral step for every book. Your credibility as a writer is on the line. Here are 10 researching tips for your book...

10 Ways to Do Research for Your Book

Research is an integral step for every book. Your credibility as a writer is on the line. Here are 10 researching tips for your book...

When it comes to researching for your book there are many avenues — and rabbit holes — you can take to find the information you want. Researching is a fine art, especially now that the internet can turn up results that may not be completely accurate. Whether you’re writing a fiction novel or a nonfiction memoir, research will be an integral step for every book.

Since your credibility as a writer is on the line, you’ll want to be triple sure that any researched information you include is 100% factual and that you have a strong source to back you up. To avoid any book research snafus, we’ve created a list of 10 researching tips we recommend. 

1. Conduct interviews.

A firsthand account from a real person is a fantastic way to add depth and personality to your story. This type of research can be helpful for both fiction and nonfiction books. If your novel includes a lot of police work, and you know nothing about that world, you will find it very helpful to find an officer you can interview and fact-check specific scenarios you include in your book. If your nonfiction book is about mental health, you may find it helpful to interview several different professions that touch on mental health education and care, including therapists, psychiatrists, and doctors.

2. Watch documentaries.

If you are looking for specific information on a person or location, documentaries can be beneficial. While this may not provide the full depth you need on a specific topic, it will help you understand some background information and guide you through further research.

3. Use the library.

Books are still some of the strongest research documents you’ll find. From encyclopedias to books on niche topics, your library holds a wealth of knowledge that you can comb through. Is your protagonist an animal rehabilitation specialist? Check out books that detail the specific animals your protagonist rescues, so you can be sure you include factual information about each animal, and also be sure that such animal actually lives where your protagonist lives.

4. Check out official tourism websites.

If your book is set in a real city, go to that city’s official tourism website and pour through its blog posts, guides, and more. It’s also extremely helpful to go and visit the city, too. That way, you can add real-life elements to your story that you may not have known to include without visiting.

5. Utilize online personality tests.

When it comes to creating characters, the more in-depth into their personalities likes and dislikes, and pet peeves the better. As humans, we all have traits that are unique to us, and your characters need that, too. Online personality tests can help you begin to shape your characters.

6. Do some people watching.

You can gain a lot of information — and inspiration — just by watching and listening to the people around you. You could sit at a coffee shop for a few hours a week and keep notes about the types of people you see, conversations you hear, interactions, and more. You never know when this type of research will come in handy during your writing time.

7. Don’t use Wikipedia for research.

A website that can be edited by anyone needs to be completely avoided for research purposes. Since anyone can go into Wikipedia’s pages and make changes, you can never be sure that the information you pull from the website is accurate. Instead, we encourage you to only pull information from official websites.

8. Make sure you can verify statistics and other figures.

This is especially important for nonfiction books, but if you are going to include statistics and other figures in your book, you must include a strong source within your book for that information. You also want to be sure your data isn’t too old. Be sure to pull the most recent statistics you can find. Your author credibility could take a hit if you aren’t careful with this type of research.

9. Use an easy-to-understand Bible translation for scriptures.

While it may not be protected by copyright, quoting from the King James Version of the Bible can make it very difficult for your readers to fully comprehend the points you want to communicate. So, be sure to use a Bible translation that your readers will be more comfortable with using. With this step, always be sure you’re using scripture to support your main point and not the other way around.

10. Know when to pull back on researching.

At some point, you need to be able to pull back from research and dive headfirst into actually writing your book. Writers can spend too much time researching and avoid the writing process. So, if you find your writing time is consumed by research, figure out how to separate the tasks or stop researching all together — even if it’s just for a little while — so you can get some writing done.

Writing a nonfiction book? Learn how to include your sources in a bibliography with Citations 101.


Erika Bennett is the Content Manager for Xulon Press. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade and her passion is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands. You can also find her writing on

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