Using research in written works
- There are two types of resources used in research, primary and secondary sources. Knowing and using both types of sources effectively will enhance the authority and authenticity of any written text dealing with specific time period, topic, etc…
- Primary sources are documents that are recorded by eye-witnesses, or within the historical time period. They often include newspapers, diaries, radio/television broadcasts, and paintings/photographs and other artistic expressions.
- Secondary sources are documents that are generally written after an event/time period has taken place. They are often academic papers, historical documents recorded after the time period, etc…
- There are many resources available to writers of all genres, levels and types of writing. It is important to remember that when taking from other sources to use discretion in deciding whether a citation/accreditation will be required.
- A writer may be inspired by their research; however, it is important to be aware that any direct quotation or borrowing of ideas are considered intellectual property and are protected under copyright laws.
- Most universities subscribe to a variety of online research tools and databases for their students to use. While many of them are accessible only with a student/professor ID, some of the sources are available for free. Search university websites, and go through the databases they suggest for students, this will allow you to get to know which online databases are free and which may be of use to your research.
- Online resources are extremely accessible; however, it is important to remember that each website and source should be taken and evaluated for credibility. Just because something is published online does not mean that it is a reliable source.
- Go old school and explore the local libraries and print resources.
Dictionaries, thesauruses and style guides
- Oxford Dictionaries: This website requires a subscription; however, it can be a valuable resource for writers as an online dictionary.
- The Chicago Manual of Style Online: There is some general information available free to all users, and for more detailed information a subscription is required.
- The Cambridge Dictionaries Online: One of many online dictionaries and thesaurus. Generally, these sources provide general definitions and antonym/synonym references. However, some writers will want to have a print copy of a good quality dictionary and thesaurus or a subscription to an online resource such as the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) online. Some print dictionaries include Webster’s and the OED (compact or full version).
- JSTOR: An online database of articles. This website requires a membership to access all of the articles available. However, it is important to note that many Universities provide their students with access to such databases.
- Library and Archives Canada: This site allows the users access to a variety of Canadian archives, from photographs to family histories.
- The Canada Council for the Arts: This site outlines grants that are available to Canadian writers.
- The Editors’ Association of Canada: This website provides web links to information on a wide variety of topics including literary associations, books, publishing, copyright, dictionaries and grammar.
- Saskatchewan Arts Board: This site is a source for grants and funding for writers.
- Canadian Publishers’ Council: This site is a source for publishers and publishing
- The Writers’ Union of Canada: This site contains information on how to find a publisher, submitting manuscripts, and provides a template for contracts and lists of Canadian literary agents.
- Association of Canadian Publishers: This site provides information on how to approach a publisher, markets, literary agents, and provides a variety of links to valuable resources for writers.
- Writers’ Guild of Canada: The Writers’ Guild of Canada provides writers with a variety of information along with special member services.
- Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators, and Performers: Provides a variety of information for artists working in the genre of children’s books.
- League of Canadian Poets: This website provides member services as well as information concerning contests, events, and links all relating to poetry.
- The History Guide: An online resource for history researchers.
- Historical Writers Association: This website provides information for writers interested in writing historical fiction.
- historical novel society: The historical novel society provides information for writers of historical novels.
- Fordham University History Sourcebook Project: This website provides links and access to manuscripts and primary sources from Ancient times through to the modern era. This site would be of great use for any writer looking to write a historical work based outside of Canada. Please note: Fordham Internet History Sourcebooks Project has not been updated since 2011. As such some links within the project may not function.
- Romance Divas: This website is dedicated to romance writing, providing information for writers of this genre.
- Coffee Time Romance: This site focuses its content on the art of romance writing.
- Saskatchewan Romance Writers: This website is focused on romance writers; however the site also provides general information concerning writing, research, and blogs for writers.
The SWG is not in affiliation with any of these websites, they are only recommended resources for writers.
Whether you are looking for information on a historical event or looking for information about contracts and income tax there are many resources available to writers, artists, and the general public.
- Public Libraries: Although many written works can be found electronically, the local library is an excellent resource to all writers. Today in Saskatchewan, the public libraries are all interconnected allowing inter-library loans; this means that if your local library is has a small collection patrons now have access to library catalogues from across the province. As well, the most libraries offer free Internet access.
- Local and Provincial Writing Organizations: The writing community in Saskatchewan is rich with talent, creativity, and innovation. Whether you are a beginning writer or a published author gaining access to your provincial and community based writing organization can be a beneficial resource, providing inspiration, support, and insight.
- Local Universities: If you are a university student or alumni you ought to have access to the vast resources available through your local university. Both the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina offer students and alumnus career advice, academic and research support, as well as access to university groups such as an English Undergraduate Society and to the expertise of the faculty.
- Workshops, Festivals, Conferences, and Other Arts and Community Events: Many cities, communities, and arts organizations run various programs including workshops, festivals, and conferences. Whether you are beginning writer or someone who is established in the literary community, these events and workshops are important resources in developing the craft of writing and often will be enlightening when it comes to professional development.
- Books on the Craft of Writing and Professional Development: There are many how-to, advice books, and style manuals available to writers at every stage of development. Contact your local writers’ organization for suggestions on the best craft books, or visit the local office for use of their library (the SWG offers members access to an extensive library of Saskatchewan writers and of craft books).
Books on writing
- Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation - Lynne Truss
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft - Stephen King
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne Lamott
- Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You - Ray Bradbury
Books on writing fiction
- Things Feigned or Imagined: The Craft in Fiction — Fred Stenson
- Creating Unforgettable Characters — Linda Seger
- The Art of Fiction — John Gardner
- On Becoming a Novelist — John Gardner
- Structuring Your Novel — Robert C. Meredith and John D. Fitzgerald
- The Right to Writer — Julia Cameron
- The Artists’ Way - Julia Cameron
- Word Magic for Writers — Cindy Rogers
Books on writers and literature
- Saskatchewan Writers: Lives Past and Present - Edited by Heather Hodgson
- Encyclopaedia of Literature in Canada - William H. New
- The Oxford companion to Canadian literature - William Toye