The Principle of Every Scrap: You never know what information will be the useful bit that brings all your research together. So keep your eyes out; watch for every scrap of information that might potentially bring all your research together.

Don't you wish all Internet research was like a game of Clue? “It was Colonel Mustard, in the drawing room, with the candlestick!” All you'd have to know is what the primary impetus and main parts of all your research was, and you'd get squared away quickly.

But unless you're looking for one absolute bit of information—like a song lyric, birth date, or some other kind of reference information—it won't work that way. The most offbeat, weird bit of information may be ...

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