There's nothing worse than being wrong, except researching to make sure you're not wrong. Recently, I have done a lot of research for Odyssey articles, my internship and for my honors thesis. Research is something that I've learned a lot about because as much as I hate doing it, it is the center of just about all writing. Even when you are writing about a subject that you have a large knowledge base on there is still research involved. Sifting through dozens of websites to find what you need isn't fun and sometimes you have to go old school and head to the library to dig through some books.
So for all of you who hate researching just like me here are some tips to make the process more bearable.
1. Know how to organize
Figure out a system that works for you but make sure it includes a link to your source and a note taking space. Also, make sure that you are going to have access to this information at a later date and if you will lose access be sure to get all the notes you can from it. Staying organized will make it a lot easier to return to sources or find new sources from your previous ones. It will help with citing your material and writing directly from your notes instead of hopping from source to source.
2. Know what you're looking for
For me, making an outline helps with this, even if you are just writing a short piece. Knowing the direction your article or paper is headed in is an important part of shaping your research. It helps you know where to look for information and who you should talk to as sources.
3. Know what you're NOT looking for
This step helps to keep you from getting sidetracked. Instead of just looking at all of the information on a topic, you can find sources that are more specified. This also helps you stay away from finding something super interesting that doesn't fit into your topic (especially important when you are writing a paper for school). Sometimes you get so caught up in an interesting piece of information but it's not immediately applicable. File this info away and you can potentially come back to it for something else later.
4. Know where to look
Now that you know what you're looking for it is a lot easier to figure out where to look. This means that if you are looking for historical information look for books in that era. You limit yourself when you look for information online only or only in a history book. This also means finding search tools that work for you. Some people like Google Scholar, which is one of my favorites. There is also advanced search setting on regular Google. If you are in college make good use of your university's library system. They most likely have affiliate libraries whose databases you can access. If you are working on an extremely specific topic look for information in publications related to that topic, they may not be mainstream but many times have the unique information you need.
5. Know when to stop
This one is pretty obvious but it's easy to get caught up once you start researching. If you are writing a five-page paper, then six good sources are usually enough. If you are writing a one-page paper, seriously chill on the research. It's important to figure out how much research you need as far as length goes. If you can expound upon one source for three pages and that fits your paper than do that. Just be honest with yourself because you can always do more research but after you've spent all that time researching you can't get it back.
Researching for any reason can be frustrating. To make it less problematic stay organized and don't get distracted. Just bust out that research and get on to the fun part: writing.