Research can play a big part in writing fiction so here are a few links to websites you might find useful. If you need more in-depth research it’s always a good idea to speak to someone who is an expert in the field you’re writing about.
Wikipedia – the one-stop information shop, although it’s always best to verify from additional sources.
Ref Desk – various research resources
Burryman – various research resources
NHS Direct – medical information from UK National Health Service, including health encyclopedia (A-Z) and faqs.
NHS Careers – great A-Z of medical careers and professions.
Medical Jargon – from Medical Library Association.
First Aid – guide to first aid for a huge range of injuries.
Pregnancy Guide – by trimester and week.
Pregnancy Week-by-Week Guide – maternal and fetal development.
Suicide and Trauma Injuries – includes graphic pictures.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Infections – factsheets for each.
UK Police Ranks – complete with pictures of uniform epaulettes.
UK Police Forces – overview of geographical boundaries of each constabularly.
UK Police Acronyms – as in ABH=Actual Bodily Harm, etc.
UK Police Overview – from the Home Office, including police powers .
US Criminal Justice Reference Service – includes overview of crime catergories, criminal justice system and faqs.
True Crimes Library – US notorious crimes and criminals.
True Crime Library – UK-skewed database of notorious crimes and criminals.
Jack the Ripper Casebook – large resource on all information related to the 1880s London murderer.
The Old Bailey – searchable database of nearly 200,00 court cases at the Old Bailey 1674 – 1913.
Overview of Social Services – UK
NATO Phonetic Alphabet – as is a=alpha, b=bravo, etc.
History of the English Language – covering all periods, including middle English dictionary
Online Dictionary and Thesaurus – UK English
Dictionary of UK Slang and Colloquialisms – UK English
Dictionary of US Slang and Colloquialisms – US English
Elizabethan Dictionary – language used by Shakespeare
Regency Lexicon – common word usage in Regency England.
Cockney Rhyming Slang – translations English to Cockney Rhyming Slang and vice versa.
Irish Gaelic Pronunciation – Beginners guide to Irish Gaelic pronunciation.
Text Message Abbreviations – translations for over 1200 text message abbreviations.
Urban Dictionary – pretty comprehensive dictionary of common UK and US street terms
Lexicon of Teen Speak – beware that this will quickly become outdated!
Lexicon of US Marines – through the ages.
Babelfish – language translation – useful but not as reliable as asking someone who speaks the language!
First Names – Etymology and history of first names. (see also Name Meanings from Cheeky Tummy)
Surnames – History of UK surnames.
Shakespeare – quotes, history, etc – great resource but generates a lot of pop-ups!
The 1662 Common Book of Prayer – still the official prayer book of the Church of England.
Guide to Gods – listing nearly 3000 deities.
Celtic Mythology – guide to Celtic and Gaelic gods.
Encyclopedia Mythica – mix of summaries and links to articles on a huge range of world myths, folklore and religions.
TIMES AND MONEY
British Currency – pre-1971.
World Bank Notes – a gallery of bank notes from around the world – past and present.
Currency Converter – all contemporary currencies converted.
Measuring Worth – convert the value of money between time periods.
Money, Tax & Benefits – A guide to British money, tax and benefits produced by HM Government.
Calendar – find out what day any date in the past fell on. Includes world clock, astronomical information (eg lunar phases) and time zones.
The World Factbook – from US intelligence agency the C.I.A. Includes information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities.
World Atlas – great atlas, maps, geographical facts (rivers, ocean depths, mountain ranges etc).
Earthquakes – faqs answered by British Geological Survey.
Natural History – searchable database of UK plants and animals and overview of all things earth and space.
Climate History – UK climate from 4000BC to present, searchable by year.
Overview of Psychology – from BBC Science team.
Myers Briggs Personality Types – overview and questionnaire.
Personality Types – overview of personality types including questionnaire.
Criminal Pyschology – summary of criminal pyschology.
UK Electoral System – summary of the UK Parliament including information on visiting
UK Intelligence Community – summary of the UK Intelligence organisations provided by The Cabinet Office.
U.S Elections – overview of the electoral system in the USA
How to Take Over The World – in seven easy steps!
British Public Services – great resource from HM Government including information on policing, criminal justice systems, health, education, social welfare, travel, environment, community.
Architecture in Britain – Timeline of styles and key architects.
English History and Heritage – culture, history.
Castles of Britain – great collection of information on castles, including glossary of castle terms.
Types of Psychic Ability – list of psychic abilities.
How Stuff Works – idiot’s guide to how things work – electronics, communications, nature, etc.
This Day in Music History – music history.
Crazy Fads – 20th century crazes and fashions.
History Learning Site – a huge resource with summary articles on a wide range of historical periods, countries and conflicts
Military History Encyclopedia – covers major conflicts around the world from 1200BC to present day. Includes information on history, timelines, weapons, battles, campaigns, treaties and biographies of key players.
The National Archives – the UK Government’s National Archive for England, Wales and the United Kingdrom. Includes a summary of historical periods and events and their related documentary evidence.
British History Online – collection of primary and secondary sources of medieval and modern British history. Searchable by subject, period and place.
British Monarchs – summary of Monarchs from 800AD to present.
The Aztecs – aimed at children so quick, easy to read basic summaries.
The Ancient Egyptians – overview from BBC History team.
Ancient Rome – overview from BBC History team.
The Vikings – accessible overview from PBS.
The Tudors – pretty comprehensive guide to this period of British history with bibliography for more in-depth research.
Medieval English Towns – an in-depth but accessible resource on the subject.
Medieval Timeline – significant people and places, including maps and pictures.
Regency Resources – a list of links to detailed resources by subject for everything Regency.
The Regency Collection – great collection of information by subject for the Regency period.
American Civil War – guide to the American Civil War.
American Wars – summary of all major conflicts involving the USA
Victorian Britain – comprehensive overview covering politics, social history, science, literature, economy, etc.
World War One – summary and in-depth analysis by BBC History team
World War Two – summary and in-depth analysis by BBC History team
Battle of Britain – the RAF’s resource on the Battle of Britain including Daily Reports and a Roll of Honour.
Concentration Camps –
Northern Ireland – politics and conflict.
Vietnam War – detailed but accessible look at the conflict.
The Cuban Missile Crisis – summary of the near-conflict of 1962.
The Gulf War 1990-1991 – from PBS Frontline.
London Bombings 7/7 2005 – the BBC’s Special Report.
Madrid Train Attacks 2004 – BBC’s summary report.
Hurricane Katrina 2005 – report from US Department of Health and Human Services.
The Iraq War – from CNN News Team.
On This Day – historical events, literature and music.
On This Day – BBC reports on a host of significant UK and world events 1950-2005.
20th Century History – includes crimes, scandals, disasters, fads, timelines, wars & conflicts, scientific & medical advances, important people and photographs.
The People History – 20th century summary by decade and searchable by subject. Also includes homes, prices, costs of living, etc.
Also well worth checking out Lucy V Hay’s blog on researching for drama ‘Research Or Die’