Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
An online devotional for writers
Listen and concentrate … cry out for insight and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. (Proverbs 2:2-4, NLT)
The 5W’s and H: Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? These six questions are the basis for research skills and information gathering. They’re used by anyone focused on fact-based writing, including journalists, researchers, law enforcement officials, bloggers, and more.
The six questions entered the mainstream by way of British writer and journalist Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) as part of his fable, “The Elephant’s Child” (1902). The iconic verse reads,
I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When, and How and Where and Who.
But centuries prior to Kipling, questioning as information-gathering device was endorsed in God’s Word. In Proverbs 2, King Solomon recommended six ways to gather information: listen … concentrate … cry out … ask … search … seek. Ironically, while throwing questions at God gets a bad name in Christian circles, He is the One who champions it.
Asking question after question is one of writing’s foundational research skills. And it’s a foundational principle in the Christian life. An insightful writer asks questions to gain information. An insightful man asks questions to gain God’s wisdom.
Questions yield valuable information for the writer.
You want me to use solid research skills to seek and search and ask. Give me a heart that is eager to learn and insightful questions to ask so I can write with integrity.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.
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