Sunday, August 12, 2012

Personal Experience Trumps Research

By Fred Fields

I have a complaint with Rush Limbaugh. He sounds so logical and knowledgeable and smart. But every time he talks about a subject I know something about, he seems to be just a little bit off the mark.
That happens too, on occasion, when I read an article or a book. The author's research may be correct according to the time of writing, but is not correct within the time frame of the action in the published piece. Or his research may have turned up false information.
Our world changes more in a decade today than it used to change over a hundred years. And I'm not just talking about medicine, computers, and flush toilets. People today live longer, and we're also bigger, stronger, and faster than our ancestors. We can do things they never dreamed of. Consequently, we think differently.
We can get in our car and go to the same store several times a day if we forget something. But during horse-and-buggy days, they had to think more efficiently.
Research is important, and done correctly, will put us on the right path. But nothing takes the place of personal knowledge and experience.
If one is writing a piece about a lawyer trying a case, it is more authentic if the author has experience in court and is familiar with differences in the laws over time. If your story is about the military, it helps to have served and to know about changes in tactics and materiel.
My point is that we are ahead of the game when we write about something we know.

1 comment:

Shaun said...

I've never seen Rush's name next to those words before...