Sharpen Your Research Skills

Write the Facts – Top Ways To Sharpen Your Research Skills

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “write what you know.” And, while that does help if you’re a prolific writer, it can also limit your writing opportunities when you’re first starting out. It’s not that the truism is wrong, it’s that you have to expand your sphere of knowledge so that “what you know” is a lot more than what you know right now. Here’s how to do that.

Start With A Targeted Internet Search

The first thing you want to do with a new subject is do a targeted Internet search about it. If it’s a popular topic, there will be plenty of hits on the first page of Google that will give you a good overview of what you need to know.

You won’t be able to get all of the information you need, but it’s a good place to start. Don’t spend more than a day or two doing this. From there, delve deeper by hiring a research firm.

Hire A Research Firm

Unless you’re a professional researcher, your best bet is to hire a research firm that can dig up all of the nitty-gritty details about the topic you’re studying. Firms, like Ivory Research, will pretty much do all of the heavy lifting for you. You can even get them to write the report or paper for you, but most of the time you’ll want to be involved with the project on some level.

A research firm can also help you pull together resources that you might not otherwise get your hands on. So, if you hire the firm, and then request all documents, you can permanently expand your research library for the future.

Absorb The Subject Matter

Don’t make the mistake that a lot of writers do – they only search for written texts on the subject. Absorb everything from movies, documentaries, and lectures. Odds are, there’s a lot of source material out there that’s not in written form.

For example, if you’re doing a paper on the life and history of Jesus or Christianity, you might turn to The Great Courses for professional lectures given by university professors. The Great Courses sells college-level courses on specific topics that you can pick up for less than the actual cost of the course. In a sense, you’ll be getting the best possible education about the subject matter – an education you simply cannot get elsewhere.

Let It Stew

After you’ve absorbed enough source material, you should let the ideas sit and “stew” in your mind. This is a time when the creative process starts. Put everything away, and relax. Consider going for a hike, or for a boat ride, or just sitting around playing video games.

The idea is to relax and let the ideas permeate your mind. This helps eliminate the stress of writing, and it also primes your subconscious for the writing process. It’s an intuitive process, and you’ll probably get a feel for when it’s time to put the pen to paper. However, if you need general guidelines, wait at least 3 days before you attempt to write anything – especially if you’ve been studying intensively for a week or more.

Jenny Wescott is a dissertation researcher. She is always looking for ways to make her research and writing tasks more efficient and accurate. She also enjoys sharing her ideas online.

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Image: PlaceIt

If you’re the kind of person that always has a bunch of tabs open then you you’ll love this quick little tip.

Multiple tabs open

This tip comes from Reddit user: thisisned

Simply Copy and Paste this secret string of text into the address bar of any browser tab.

I’ve made it easy on you…

Just click the notepad icon below to get the text…



Then simply copy the text – open a new tab and paste it in the address bar and you’re good to go!


Here’s the visual play by play:

1. Copy the text by highlighting it.


  • Then either right click and choose “Copy”
  • or use the keyboard shortcut “Command + C” on a Mac
  • or “Control + C” on a PC.

2. Open A New Tab & Paste It Into The Address Bar


  • Open a new tab in your internet browser and past in the text to the address bar and hit enter.
  • Paste by clicking inside the address bar and then right clicking and choose “paste”
  • or use the keyboard shortcut “Command + V” on a Mac
  • or “Control + V” on a PC.

Now you have a nice clean slate in which to type any notes:

Browser Tab Notebook

If you want to increase the font size simply increase the number size:


You can also change the font family if you like:



And last but not least – don’t forget to bookmark it!



So you know what I’m talking about right? That musky unpleasant “old house smell.”

Nobody wants that.

Sure you could use plugins, candles etc., but sometimes those scents are a little overwhelming and they can get expensive.

Here’s a solution you may not have thought of.

Use charcoal.

I know it sounds kind of dirty right?

BUT…it’s a super simple and super cheap alternative to ridding your house of unpleasant odors.

How It Works:

Charcoal is one of many natural substances that can be used to eliminate odors by effectively removing moisture, and hence, moisture-related odors.

It works Great For:

  • Removing that musky moisture smell
  • Neutralizing cooking odors
  • Deodorizing refrigerators
  • Absorbing moisture in closets so your clothes don’t smell mildewy.
  • Removing mildewy basement smells


Creative Ways To Use Charcoal Throughout Your House

Charcoal For Removing Odors

  • Simply lay a few out in a metal tray.
  • Sew pouches for them or use an old sock, then hang them in inconspicuous areas.
  • Line a basket with foil or plastic and lay the briquettes inside.
  • Set them out on a tray on a shelf or side table: the black little pillows actually look kind of cool!
  • Set a couple of pans in musty basements or bathrooms and near stinky pet bedding.
  • Place small bowls of powdered charcoal in a smelly closet to absorb odors caused by shoes or stinky hampers.
  • Fill the ashtrays in your car with cat litter to absorb odors from smoke or mildew.
  • place a piece in an old sock and place in shoes.
  • In basement areas, you can put it in old pair of panty hose and hang up.
  • Put a few in an old coffee can and puncture holes in the top.
  • Place 5-10 pieces of plain, non-fuel soaked (and obviously unlit) charcoal briquets placed onto a plate or pan in your fridge, and the odors should be absorbed overnight


Quick Tip:

Make sure you use the regular charcoal, not the self-starting kind which contains lighter fluid. Sort of common sense, but you never know these days ;-)

Via Apartment Therapy: Charcoal Briquettes For the Smelly Home 

Once you start using keyboard shortcuts you’ll love them.

This is one of the most underutilized time savers out there.


So What’s The Big Deal?

Well it’s not really a big deal, but a bunch of little deals.

They add up.

The idea behind keyboard shortcuts is to take phrases that you type often such as email addresses or phrases such as “on my way” or “aint nobody got time for that” into short keystrokes such “@@” or “omw”.

So if you love little cellphone hacks then you’ll love this…

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Photo Credit: Katie Tegtmeyer via Compfight cc

This is one of those things that no one really likes to talk about. It’s also one of the most liberating and quickest paths to real progress.

With one month of 2014 already in the bag it’s time get real. If you really want to look back at this year come Dec 31st with pride and sense of real accomplishment it’s going to start with getting a little uncomfortable.

The uncomfortable truth that Is.

Why Telling Yourself The Truth Matters

“When you are willing to come clean with yourself about the uncomfortable truth behind your choices, actions, and fears; you’re on the verge of freedom.”

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Review Your Day on a Daily Basis

Our lives are full of scheduled check-ups. You see the dentist every six months. You get a mammogram every year past 40. You get your car tuned up every 3000 miles or so. And you should review your day every 24 hours.

Why so frequently? After all, you could do this once a week or month, or even once a quarter. Well, you should review your progress at different time frames, but there are several reasons to review your activity daily:

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Sooo for those of you who don’t know…my wife is pregnant with child #2! Yay!

After waaay too much guessing, speculating, and silly urban legend myths we finally found out the sex of our baby!

Gender Reveal Ideas:

As you probably know there are a ton of gender reveal videos out there. Actually I personally had no idea this was such a big thing until we started searching for gender reveal ideas.

Pinterest & YouTube are littered with them.

We wanted to do something a little different with ours. Continue Reading…

Kid Teeth cleaning Tips

Photo Credit: Vaughan via Compfight cc

“My kid(s) always brush their teeth without ever complaining, delaying, or having to be told”…….Said no parent….EVER!

I have yet to meet a parent who doesn’t struggle with getting their kid’s to brush their teeth.

Or getting them to care about the health of their teeth at all.

Most kids don’t enjoy this.

Mine included.

Heck…myself included.

What if there was a way to make it just a little more enjoyable and easy for parents kids to take care of their teeth?

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If you—or the people you take photographs of—always look bad in images, then this might help.

Professional portrait photographer Peter Hurley claims that one simple facial expression can make you instantly more photogenic.

He calls it “Squinching”

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