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Especially in the beginning of an investigation, you might feel that you need get through as much reading as possible. But this is not always the best strategy. Reading is slow and – especially if you are doing Internet research – you may have identified not a few, but a few hundred, relevant references. Therefore, only skim-read background information! Make sure your internet search has not been too wide (putting quotes around the key words will give you only those articles that include them all). Bookmark any web references that look interesting, so you do not have to spend time later searching for them again.

And do not waste time chasing one elusive expert. Contact as many of the relevant people on your phone list as you can. And go back to individuals you talked with when you were developing the story and ask any new related questions. At this stage, you need to search broad rather than deep.

Make a mini-timetable; decide how important each segment of the research is, and how much time you can afford to spend on it. Never waste extra time chasing up just one elusive person, document or figure – find another way to get what you need.