Research! Research! Where Should I Do My Research?
“Research is seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.”– Albert Szent-Györgyi, Hungarian pharmacologist known for his work on vitamins and oxidation.
Have you ever been at a loss as to where to perform research on an upcoming presentation topic? I have.
In the pre-Internet days, when you needed to perform research for a presentation, you went to the bookstore and bought a book on the subject, or went to the library and borrowed a book on the subject, or bought a newspaper and searched for articles on the subject.
Today, with the advent of the Internet and all you can find on it (blogs, e-newspapers, e-books, etc.), you can perform research for your presentation in the privacy of your home with a piping hot cup of coffee.
Below I explore e-newspapers, blogs, and e-books and how the immediacy of your topic determines which to use for research.
If your topic is ripped right from the latest headlines, there is no better source in which to find information for your presentation than e-newspapers.
If your topic has an immediate “flavor” to it, e-newspapers are the place to go for information on your topic.
Have you ever heard of the term “evergreen” in reference to presentations? “Evergreen” presentations are not tied to present-day happenings and don’t have a “shelf-life” value. That means if you deliver a specific presentation today, in a year, or five years, it will have the same value to your audience.
If e-newspapers are your primary research source, your presentation will not be “evergreen” because, after a while, it will be out of the audience’s interest zone.
Examples of topics that are not “evergreen” are:
Voicing your opinion on a bill before Congress
Commenting on the current National Basketball Association Playoff games
Speaking of the current unrest in a specific United States city
So, e-newspapers are an excellent resource for your presentations that review what is currently happening in the news. However, to get more in-depth analysis, you may want to try blogs.
Internet Blog Sites
If your topic is a subject in the news in the last few months, there is no better source to find your presentation than blogs.
Blogs are a great place to obtain more in-depth information about an item that has been in the public domain for a while. COVID-19 comes to mind as a topic for which blogs can provide more detailed information.
The added benefit of blogs is they usually talk about a particular subject for weeks and, sometimes months, which gives the blog writer time to analyze what e-newspapers said initially about a subject. Quite often, in a rush to get the news out to the public, e-newspapers sometimes get their facts wrong. Blogs can correct these factual mistakes.
Realize all blogs are not equal. You should only get supporting material from reputable blogs. Anyone can put up a blog. Next, you have to decide whether the blog author is credible. This is not always an easy task.
If e-newspapers are an excellent source for what is currently happening in the news and blogs are an excellent resource for more in-depth material on a subject, what is the source you should turn to for profound, exhaustive, and far-reaching supporting information for your presentations? The answer is e-books.
If your topic is a subject in the news for several years, there is no better source to find information for your presentation than e-books.
When the Internet started in the 1990s, the main complaint of Internet users was they could not find the information they needed on the Internet. No more. More and more print books that have been published many years ago are being rereleased in e-book format.
e-Books are convenient, take up little space compared to print books and have content on just about anything you could want in supporting information for your presentations.
An additional benefit of e-books is they are searchable. If you went to college when I did, wasn’t it frustrating and time-consuming to leaf through a book to find the information you needed.
e-Books and print books alike have the most in-depth information on the subject of your presentation. e-Books stand the test of time and, therefore, are excellent sources for your “evergreen” presentations.
Years ago, the challenge was finding suitable sources for your presentations. Today, the challenge is to “separate the chaff from the wheat” from all the sources that find you.
For your research, use e-newspapers for current events, blogs for topics for which you need more in-depth analysis of current events, and e-books for “evergreen” topics.
You’ll be glad you did!
Call to Action
Perform research in e-newspapers for your next presentation on current events
Perform research in blogs for your next presentation on current events when you need more detailed/analytical information
Perform research in e-books for your next presentation on “evergreen” topics
“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.”– Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher.
Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster, in 2002 because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.
Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.frankdibartolomeo.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Frank can be reached at email@example.com and (703) 509-4424.
Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”