9. Research and Believability

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Other Sources

2. Internet and Other Electronic Sources

New sources of information appear almost daily. There are many programs available to give you detailed information on the subject of your choice — from astronomy to zoology. For world building, some of the simulation programs (SimCity, etc.) may give you ideas; just don't get lost in the program and forget to write your story. Astronomy programs such as Distant Suns may be helpful. Don't forget the electronic encyclopedias such as Encarta (for a quick look) or Encyclopedia Britannica (for depth). And of course, there's the World Wide Web . . .

The following popup contains a list of some useful research web sites. Always keep in mind, where the Web is concerned, that you have to keep a critical eye open to the information you find. Much of it is good and reliable; much of it isn't. Consider the credentials of the source. If you're looking for information about recent space research, for example, you might cast a more skeptical eye at a site with an obvious political agenda than at NASA's Hubble Telescope site. If you're not sure about a piece of information, see if you can find confirmation elsewhere.

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Research Web Sites

3. Ask the Expert

You can always ask real people who know something about the subject that interests you. Have a question about science? Ask a scientist or science teacher. Need to know about police procedure? Ask one of your local police officers. Question about the arts? Or theology? Ask an artist, or a priest/minister/rabbi.

You may be surprised how happy most people are to help out when you ask politely. If they don't know the answer to your question, they might be able to refer you to someone who does. (Don't forget to say thank you. And if someone spends a lot of time with you, a handwritten thank-you note is a good idea.)


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