Writing a research-based book requires a unique set of strategies. Authors have unsaid responsibility to be accurate and fair while writing research-based nonfiction. While research provides enough grounds for developing an idea into a book, writing the actual manuscript may be an overwhelming task because of the complexity of the research, referencing, connecting the ideas, and keeping the treatment of the text in check.
In this article, I discuss some foundational approaches to crafting a nonfiction manuscript grounded in the research.
The challenges of writing a research-based book
Over a year ago, I finished writing one of my 20 books, titled “Accelerated Proficiency for Accelerated Times.” The book is about the concept and methods of speeding up employee performance to the level of proficiency or mastery so that they are ready at the pace of the business. It is thoroughly grounded in previous research studies to distill wisdom in an organized fashion. A lot has been written on learning, skill acquisition, performance, or proficiency, but there was not much literation on how to speed up proficiency. I am one of the few experts researching and writing about it. So, through this book, I undertook this initiative to present a well-rounded concept of accelerated proficiency to scholars, academics, and L&D specialists.
I faced three challenges while crafting this book. I am sure others writing a research-based book face some similar challenges too:
First, my outlook was to make a perfect piece.
I was trained as a scientist. So, by nature, I am very detailed and analytical, and I love content. In a way, my research could never end. In the back of my mind, while developing this book, I wanted it to be a perfect piece.
Second, the book was topic was brand new.
Nothing much has been written about it. So, this was to become the first book on this topic of accelerated proficiency. As such, the challenge was how to build a foundational book that appeals to scholars and practitioners to take forward this budding area. If the topic is relatively new, the author has a lot of pressure to connect the dots.
Third, the book was fully grounded in research.
Connecting dots became even more challenging when the book was grounded in research of previous studies spanned over four decades. It was massive content. Research on any new topic opens up like branches of trees, and those branches expand into subbranches and so forth. One needs to be sure and absolutely clear which of the branches you would not want to follow. Otherwise, research becomes a never-ending loop, and the manuscript will never see the daylight. So, the key challenge was determining the cut line – how far and how deep I should go to conduct my research.
So, it can be very overwhelming when you have that kind of perfectionist mindset coupled with a vast amount of content grounded in research.