Collecting phase is rather technical but simple. For the purpose of the whole ordeal, I use only two tools. Browser (either Safari or Chrome) and Evernote for starters, and for those who are deep into technical and have improved workflows, there is also Text Expander. For those who aren’t on Mac, and don’t have Text Expander, there is DuckDuckGo chrome extension.
Personally, I am using Chrome for article research. I have an account set up exclusively for work on Alpha Efficiency content, so when I am in Chrome, I am in working mode. I also know I won’t be searching for anything sensitive, so I am not overly concerned about privacy, as I usually am while using Safari.
Safari is also ok for article research, but I’ve found that Evernote clipboard extension works better in Chrome, and I like to save search histories in one unified location. On the other hand, when there is something extra that I need to research, I will most likely use Safari, as it is my default browser, hence I will have easy access to information without messing up my carefully chosen setup on Chrome.
If you haven’t heard of Evernote already, you must have been living under the internet rock.
- It’s free
- It’s platform agnostic
- Accessible via browser
- It’s superb at capturing information
- Even better with retrieving information with search
Text expander combined with DuckDuckGo bang feature
DuckDuckGo Bang is a feature of that search engine that lets you search any website what-so-ever for the content that you’ve entered in DDG search box. While I’ve found this search neat, it is showing exceptional resilience in fast queries with Text Expander. If you don’t know what text expander is, I recommend you check it out, give it a free trial before you proceed with reading this.
Websites to use
Apart from the usual suspects on the search list, you will find some websites that I endorse for searching for high-quality information. If you have some of your own, I would appreciate highly if you’ve left them in the comments, along with the links.
When you are researching for articles using Google exclusively will make your articles look dry, boring and repetitive for people who are already familiar with the topic. If you use only one or two search engines you will be left out of the great pool of knowledge out there.
On the other hand if you include numerous websites, you can be sure that your articles will stand out, and deliver more value to your readership. So here are some of my favorites!
- DuckDuckGo – For the reasons previously mentioned, this is why I use DDG
- Google – Self-explanatory I hope
- Google+ – If you are a digital content creator, connecting with the authors of the articles you’re using for your content is a great way to connect and build relationships AND get a great source of information as well.
- YouTube – is the second largest search engine on the planet, and it has loads of content. Just explore it.
- Twitter – it’s open nature allows it to connect, engage in discussions and look for real-time relevant information on your topic.
- Wikipedia – Neatly organized, you can usually use it to quote numerous things.
- Quora – Newly found question and answers site, which has a lot of untapped potentials.
Aside from these articles, depending on the niche and the topic you are covering, I would strongly suggest that you use the Search function on the forums on the related topic. It might give you a significant edge over other content creators in your area of expertise, easily pushing your content to the top.
How the process itself looks like
First of all, I will start with opening a new Evernote note, give it a proper name and tags, so, later on, I will always be sure to access it easily, either via search or manually. Then I will fire up Chrome and slap a search query that I need and hit copy on it.
Then I will hit the new tab with a keyboard shortcut: CMD+N (Ctrl+N for Windows) and will use the following text expander snippets, each in a new tab.
/gcl for – !g – for Google search
/ytcl for !yt – for YouTube search
/twcl – !tw – for Twitter Search
/wcl – !w – for Wikipedia Search
/qcl – !q – for Quora search
In a matter of 2 seconds, I populate the search results from multiple websites in a single go.
If you don’t have Text Expander, I advise you to use DuckDuckGo Chrome extension, as it will help you achieve the same result, it will just take you a few extra seconds.
Reading and collecting
Now I have a lot of information to deal with, and as I go through the content, I simply add quotes, links, and articles to my working notebook with Evernote extension.
Once I’ve found the required content and saved it in a single location, I can safely say that the collection phase is over. And that it’s time to organize.
Steal my to-do list
- Get Text Expander (or DuckDuckGo Chrome Extension)
- Download my Text Expander Snippet for search
- Download Evernote
- Start the research
- Collect and organize