The first day of the Digital Camp Kenya 2015 having kicked off on a high note, Owaahh did not disappoint. He presented on the topic, ‘Blogging is not always sexy: The importance of research’
Morris is a blogger and is known by his blog identity- Owaahh. He is known for his in-depth historical researched posts. He mostly writes about Kenyan, African issues and cultures. He’s also famous for his love of bananas.
Only a select few can tackle such a potentially boring topic, with the humor that Owaahh gave it. “Things you do daily, you are not likely to remember”, he said. “This is why research is done”, he added. He insisted that research is in fact sexy and did his whole presentation in memes.
Owaahh shared his experience pitching a story to a publication about the Happy Valley. After his research, he ended up with pages of words, yet the project required 1500 words. He had to edit the work that he finally ended up with disjointed sentences that did not tell a story. “Don’t just throw in things you got from research. Tell the reader a story because that’s what they came for”, he advised.
Sometimes you can get carried away when researching because you gather so much information, but you can’t use everything. Owaahh’s advise was to research around your writing rather than write around your research. “Research must always be project specific”, he said.
“After doing research, learn to break down your writing to make it simpler for your audience”, Owaahh said. He told us to simplify facts and research for our readers. “Don’t lose them with complex figures”, he advised.
“All content creators are researchers by default”, said Owaahh. There are different sources of research that he pointed out during his presentation. Some of them were observation, interviews, books, newspapers, and the most common friend we have, Google. “You can do math on Google. Feed in your numbers and formulas into search bar and google will spit out an answer”, he threw a witty fact. “To do a successful research on google, you need to go beyond page one. Sometimes all the way up to page 15”, he added.
One can also research through experimentation. “It makes your work authentic”, he said. He gave examples of actors who lived the lives of their characters even on their normal lives during the span of the production. “However, one should be smart, don’t do things that would endanger your life in the name of research”, he said.
“Any writing is a universe, be it fiction or non-fiction’, Owaahh said. He explained that there are laws operating in the universe and even if you suspend a rule, you have to replace it with another. This way, you avoid insulting your readers’ intelligence”, he cautioned.
Plagiarism is a topic that comes up in most writing workshops. Owaahh said it’s a nice word for plain theft! “Research and acknowledge sources of your information”, he said. “Use links to redirect your readers to the sources you are referring to you your articles”, he advised. “To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research”, he added.
The 45 minutes punctuated by laughter from the audience was definitely one memorable presentation. Who said research is always boring?