How I Research A New Subject

Dominique Daniel Discussion

An interesting take on giving students advice about starting research on a new topic:

Clive Thompson, "How I Research A New Subject," February 28, 2023,

“How do you research a subject?”

I got asked this last week, while being interviewed by some college students. We were chatting about energy and technology, but they were also interested to know:

As a journalist, how do I set about researching a new area? If I’m starting fresh and reporting on a subject I’ve never reported on before, where do I begin? How do I know when I’m done?

They’re great questions. I’ve pondered this a lot during my 25 years writing long-form magazine journalism, and I can’t say I have a precise set of rules I follow; every research journey tends to be a bit idiosyncratic.

But there are some general guidelines. So I told them what I’ve learned.

Having done so, I figured hey — public thinking — let’s set it down here in case this is useful to anyone else!

So here are A Few Guidelines For Doing In-Depth Research Into A New Subject: