The problem with “Do your own research.”

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“Do your own research” is one of the most pernicious phrases on the internet. Hucksters use it to fool people. It will lead you astray. Based on my 20 years as a researcher, I’ll delve into what research actually is, what it means when someone writes “do your own research,” and why it leads to … Continued

Contributed op-ed case study (2): Research

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If you’re contributing a piece to a major publication, they will want something new. If it’s new, it probably requires research. Today I’ll share how I do research — and specifically, what I did for the piece I published last week in the Ideas section of the Boston Sunday Globe. As I described yesterday, I … Continued

How to cite research that isn’t crappy

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If you’re writing, you’ll want to cite published research that you didn’t do yourself. Here’s how to find research worth citing — and avoid citing crap research. Think of me as your mom, saying “Don’t put that research in your document. Do you have any idea where’s it been?” Finding research to cite How do … Continued

Collaborating on research: the value of multiple perspectives

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Two or three researchers can do better than one. Here’s how to take advantage of that. For the purposes of this post, I’m talking about Web research that informs writing, whether that’s an article, a book, a white paper, or an internal document. Even if you’re doing actual primary research, such a survey or interviews, … Continued

Nuggets, or how to not write a piece that’s a boring lecture

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A lecture is you standing up and droning on about what you think, based on your voluminous experience. It’s boring in person, and it’s a deadly way to write. In today’s short-attention-span world, a lecture is a good way to get people to click away from the post, stop reading the book, and give up … Continued

How to write a book chapter

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I write business books. Every chapter is a 5,000-word package full of stories, detail, statistics, insights, and recommendations. You don’t just sit down and write one of those at random. Here’s what it takes to create one. In the last 10 years I’ve written, cowritten, or ghostwritten six books. Five of them were case-study powered business … Continued

New research on business writing (infographic and report)

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Today I release “The State of Business Writing, 2016,” my first research report about the challenges of writing at work, based on a survey of 547 business writers. This is the first public release of the whole set of research. Biggest takeaways: 81% of people who write for work agree with the statement “Poorly written material wastes my … Continued