Writing a Book: Using Research

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Great business books support every key point with research. The good news for business authors is that there are battalions of academics conducting research of all kinds you can use. Your challenges are to select your research wisely and interpret it helpfully.

Find Treasures Among the Trash

Just like everything else in the world, there’s great research, okay research, and awful research. Find the treasures by looking for the studies that other studies cite. Identify researchers other people quote often and go to their original work.

Before you use a piece of research, make sure you understand why it’s good and why it’s relevant. Then you’re ready to make sense of explain it for your reader.

Explain What You Find

Anybody with an internet connection can find a bunch of research and list it. I call that “proof stacking.” Proof stacking is seductive. You can fool yourself into thinking you’re helping your reader. You’re not.

Anyone can find a bunch of studies. Your job is to interpret what you find.

When you share a research finding, tell the reader why it’s important and why it’s relevant. Connect to the point you’re using the research to support. Use the research to explain an example you use or a story you tell.

Bottom Line

When you write a business book, your challenge is to select and interpret relevant research. Don’t just share the results of studies. Explain to your reader why the studies are important and why they are relevant.

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