This online course is 6 weeks long, followed by a 2-week period to complete the final exam (online, open book). Lessons are released on Wednesdays and Fridays of each week. You are not required to be online at any specific time. You register and pay on our website and instructions on how to access your course will be emailed to you immediately after registration.

The actual time commitment involved in completing any given lesson can vary significantly based on a number of factors including reading speed, familiarity with the topic, related experience, the amount of time spent completing optional assignments, and involvement with discussion board. For planning purposes we suggest setting aside 1 hour per lesson as a starting point.

Research Methods for Writers

Research Methods for Writers

$190 + applicable tax

Attention all writers! Learn how to efficiently and effectively conduct research for any writing project: fiction, nonfiction, business . . . even term papers and dissertations. Modern research techniques are boundless. The trick is to know where to look and what to look for.

This six-week online course teaches the best methods for mounting a search on any subject.

You'll take a virtual guided tour of the library and how to maximize its precious resources, and you'll discover how to access public records, conduct successful Internet searches, and explore other similar treasure troves of information.

Personal interviews, public reports, surveys and polls, and historical research are introduced and dissected. A special lesson on Guerilla Research reveals secrets for the undercover researcher. As a plus, detailed instructions are offered for getting organized before embarking on research and getting the most out of information once it's gathered.

This course will give you the tools you'll need to successfully gather and incorporate all the information any polished and professional writing project requires.

Week 1 Wednesday - Lesson 1

Research: The Foundation of Writing
In this introductory lesson, you’ll learn why good research skills are necessary for effective writing. You’ll unleash your creativity with the exciting “Mind Mapping” tool to identify your subject—in both a general and specific way—to help refine your research before you even begin. You’ll also learn the importance of understanding jargon and technical terms specific to your subject, which will leave you much better prepared to begin your project.

Week 1 Friday - Lesson 2

Let's Make a Plan
You probably already know that much time can be wasted if research is conducted in a disorganized manner. In this lesson you’ll learn how to organize a plan for your research and how to keep organized once your research is underway. We’ll identify the first steps of research, including choosing between academic and anecdotal research, primary and secondary sources, and which resources will be the most productive for you in the early stages of research.

Week 2 Wednesday - Lesson 3

The Library: A Virtual Field Trip
The library is still the most all-inclusive resource for research, but many people aren’t aware of the treasure trove of information residing within its walls. This lesson will take you on a virtual field trip through the many library sections and departments, introducing and reviewing the materials available, including periodicals, microfilm records, Lexis-Nexis, rare books, reverse directories, government reports, maps, old telephone books, and many others. You’ll discover resources that you never knew existed.

Week 2 Friday - Lesson 4

The Personal Interview
One of the most productive resources for researches is the personal interview, but it can be intimidating. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to find experts and how to prepare for an interview. You’ll learn the keys to formulating questions designed to get the very best from your subject. By the time you finish this lesson, you’ll feel confident and competent to approach your interview subjects with ease.

Week 3 Wednesday - Lesson 5

Getting the Most out of Reports and Studies
Perusing reports can seem about as much fun as a root canal, but it’s worth it when you find nuggets of information essential to your research. This lesson will introduce you to numerous valuable reports, including census reports, public company reports and a multitude of government reports. You’ll learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff, winnowing out the pertinent information, and how to assess a report not only for its content but also for the reliability of its source. As a bonus, you’ll be given some guidelines for turning statistics into prose.

Week 3 Friday - Lesson 6

History: Fact or Fiction?
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to incorporate history into your writing, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. You’ll discover what you’ve probably suspected all along: the truth of history is often shaped by the perspective of the historian. This lesson will teach you how to evaluate different perspectives, how to spot “rewritten history,” and how to zero in on fact versus mythology.

Week 4 Wednesday - Lesson 7

Public Records: A Treasure Trove of Information
Today’s lesson will introduce you to the numerous public records that are waiting to reveal information about persons, places, and things. Real estate records, birth, marriage and death records, civil and criminal trial records, bankruptcy filings, construction records, and political campaign information are but a few of the many records available to the public. By the end of this lesson, you’ll know what’s out there and how to get to it.

Week 4 Friday - Lesson 8

The Internet: A Researcher's Best Friend
Conducting research on the Internet can be a valuable time-saver. It can also allow researchers to fall into the trap of believing everything they read. This lesson will discuss Internet reliability: what you can trust and what you should mistrust. You’ll also learn skills for effectively using search engines for your research, for both general and specific topics. You’ll find many useful research links, and we’ll discuss issues such as when you should and should not pay for your information. The Internet has as many pitfalls as benefits, and this lesson will show you how to avoid the pitfalls.

Week 5 Wednesday - Lesson 9

Creating Your Own Information
Some researchers can’t resist the lure of using information that has never before existed. This lesson discusses the value of collecting your own data by way of surveys, studies, interviews, polls, and questionnaires. You’ll learn how to effectively create these instruments of data-gathering, and you’ll learn the difference between valid statistical sampling versus informal, nonscientific results, and when the use of each is appropriate.

Week 5 Friday - Lesson 10

Guerrilla Research
Have you ever had difficulty finding cooperative sources of information? This lesson will reveal the secrets of Guerilla Research; i.e., how to get answers when the questions are being evaded. You’ll learn techniques for gaining the confidence of reluctant interview subjects, as well as methods for digging and snooping. In other words, you’ll learn how to get what you want when the direct approach isn’t working.

Week 6 Wednesday - Lesson 11

Attribution: Giving Credit When Credit Is Due
Once your research has been compiled, much of it will be quoted or paraphrased within your manuscript. In today’s lesson we’ll discuss the importance of proper attribution as well as the technical methods for crediting your sources. You’ll learn how to painlessly create a bibliography, and you will also learn how to decide between citations, footnotes, and endnotes for your work. You can easily avoid copyright violations by gaining a basic understanding of copyright law, along with the fundamentals of fair use and permissions. Writers know how important it is to protect themselves, and in this lesson you’ll learn how.

Week 6 Friday - Lesson 12

Pulling It All Together
Your research is complete, your facts are gathered; now what? In this final lesson, you’ll learn what to do with all the research materials you have accumulated. You’ll learn how to identify what is valuable and what should be discarded. You’ll gain insight on both the writing and the editing process, and as a bonus, you’ll learn how to avoid some of the most common word-usage mistakes. This lesson will give you the final skills you need to produce a well-researched, polished manuscript.

Course Details
This course is fully online, you require internet access and an email account. The course duration is 6 weeks, followed by a 2-week period to complete the final exam (online, open book). Lessons are released on Wednesdays and Fridays of each week, for a total of 12. You are not required to be online at any specific time.

In addition to the specific lesson content, there is a discussion board with each lesson and often there is an optional assignment to apply the learning.

Following each lesson, there is a short multiple choice quiz. Your score on these quizzes does not count towards the final mark but completing these helps solidify your learning as well as prepare you for the final exam.

The final exam is an open-book, multiple choice exam and you need to achieve a minimum of 65% on the final exam to pass the course. There is only one opportunity to pass the exam. A certificate of completion from Ed2Go is available for printing immediately upon successful completion of the course and a certificate from the University of Waterloo will be emailed typically 1-2 weeks later.

Many of the Ed2Go courses are eligible towards the various online certificates offered by Professional Development.

Choose your course start date:

Aug 12, 2020Sep 16, 2020Oct 14, 2020Nov 11, 2020Dec 09, 2020