There certainly are more than enough pages around that don’t do anything better than a random news page. All they do is collect general information to forward it to the broad public. Those articles usually end up being some kind of clickbait. The forwarded info is short and laced with personal opinions or beliefs. Why don’t you take a different approach and hunker down to conduct some proper academic research?
Table of Contents
Ignore the usual suspects
With ‘usual suspects’ we’re more referring to the usual go-to pages to find more info. This would include Wikipedia, if you like it or not. If you’re interested in writing content for your page that doesn’t reflect all the other info out there, dig deeper. You can surely take news pages, journals, and also Wikipedia as a lead. But don’t use it as a source for academic research.
Everyone can add as well as edit content on Wikipedia. Even you or your neighbor with an IQ of a slice of bread. None of Wikipedia’s content is verified by actual experts. Hence, an actual encyclopedia might be more valuable to discover the area you intend to write about. However, you can take some leads from Wikipedia articles. Most claims are referenced at the bottom of an article. Take a note of those and do some cross-reference research to check their validity.
The same goes for newspaper articles or content you find in magazines. Those articles are usually not referenced as much. If it’s about a topic the writer put in some work into, he or she may quote experts. Take notes of them and try to find research in that area – not just by those who received a quote.
Moreover, most public content is severely biased. There are only very few truly independent journalists who may have looked a little closer into a matter.
Start with an objective point of view
Let’s say you wanted to conduct some academic research about finding out why our sky is blue. While we can all see that our sky is blue, it might just be our vision that lets us perceive the sky as blue. Thus, you could already broaden your academic research. Instead of asking why the sky is blue, you could ask which elements of the atmosphere give its color. The point is not to start with a firm belief or statement which you only want to prove specializedto be true or false. There are more than enough scientists in the world who get paid for academic research to come up with a predetermined result. That’s not academic research, that’s just a higher level of paid fact-checkers.
Academic research is meant to be an open discussion to which everyone can add his or her findings. With new findings, the discussion can evolve and may even prove original statements don’t stand the test of time. Thus, you start with an objective point of view and gather academic research around the topic. Don’t neglect sources whose findings you may not like.
Narrow it down
Once you have an objective point of view, you can start to narrow down your topic. Just writing about WW2 might be a bit much. You know, there’s tons of material out there and you won’t finish it until the end of your days. Choose an area that hasn’t been closely looked at. For example, you could conduct academic research about how WW2 actually began. Though history books tell how the Germans invaded Poland out of the blue, there might be more to it. Were there any precursors on either side of the border?
Depending on how much material you can find about a topic, you may have to narrow it down even further. Or you may have to ditch your efforts if you find too little material about your selected topic.
Finding the right sources
As previously mentioned, it’s best to ignore the ‘usual suspects’ and be more selective about your academic research. If it’s a historical topic you intend to explore, it’s always best to choose books from actual historians. If it’s a medical topic, choose material from actual doctors. Those doctors should also work in the field and not just at a desk. You can theorize a lot as long as you’re sitting at a desk but without practical experience, research may lack practicability. Also, be careful about the choice of doctors. Study materials by a veterinarian may not be entirely helpful to study epidemics among humans, for example. Although some processes may be similar in animals, they still have a different biological makeup.
Your first stop for academic research might be the next library. Usually, a librarian can help you to find corresponding books. However, their scope is limited and not all libraries have access to all databases. The more specific your academic research is, the more specified material you have to find.
Turn your academic research into a collaborative effort
Libraries have limited access as well as limited specialised literature. What if there was a platform via which you can access several databases? What if such a platform could suggest additional material for your research?
Don’t wonder any longer, such scholarly platforms do exist and make the effort of academic research all the easier. With certain filters, you can select what material you’re exactly looking for. You can adjust the years of publication as well as if the material is peer-reviewed. It’s usually best to hunker down peer-reviewed material since it was examined for its academic research standard. However, peers don’t review if the resulting paper was flawless.
As soon as you start writing your academic research on such a platform, other scholars can view your content. If they find flaws within your academic research, they can leave comments with additional material links. Of course, scholars also have the opportunity to hint you towards additional research material. The AI-powered systems of such a platform are certainly very helpful but may miss content a true scholar only knows to find. And thus, your academic research already gets a peer review.