Research Your Topic

library_congressProduct development is challenging when you consider the vast quantities of information available to you from countless sources.  Without a solid research approach, your project will digress into meandering snippets of nonsense.  Your best approach is to follow proven steps to find your pathway to success.

  1. Identify the subject – Initial efforts to determine the best topic for your product might seem appropriate.  Broad subjects are a good starting point for your information product.  Your approach to the material will evolve as you research your subject matter.
  2. Start your outline – Major points within your outline can be written early in your research effort.  Order of the outline is less important at this point since you can rearrange the points later.  Avoid the tendency to insert detail into your outline without completing the majority of your research.
  3. Gather sources – A wide array of source material must be included to make a unique information product that stands out in the marketplace.  Your unique approach to research will support your efforts to make a product that meets needs for your students.
  4. Conduct basic research – Some topics require extensive research to determine the best approach to creating a helpful information product.  Cutting-edge subjects can be difficult to find in traditional repositories of knowledge.  Availability of supporting material will cause you to refine your titles, outline points and approaches to your project.
  5. Narrow your focus – Your research efforts might reveal the existence of mountains of information about your subject.  At some point, you might determine that multiple products can be created from your initial subject.  Consider the possibility of developing three or more products about the topic you chose in the first step.
  6. Flesh out the outline – Techniques for developing a detailed outline include index cards, separate pages for each point or one document that allows you to insert new material between existing points.  Your favorite technique does not have to be the most modern approach.  At times, a pen and paper serve the purpose just as well.

The time you invest in research can determine how well your product is accepted when people attempt to complete the training and apply your methods.  With practice, your research efforts will yield excellent information that will set your products apart from everything else on the market.

What is your favorite research technique?

Leave a comment and join the conversation.

— Mialei

1 Comment

  • Hi Mialei

    Excellent topic and tips, thanks.

    I especially like the reminder that if you find yourself going “too wide” it might be time to break it down into different products.

    So you might end up with 3 short reports that can be 3 free products, but maybe later combine them as chapters of one bigger / paid report.

    With online research it’s easy to get carried away.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


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