Writers often need to research their novels before they write them especially if they write historical fiction. One of the best ways to do research in to do On Site Research. This link talks more about that.
Here’s some tips to prepare for On Site Research.
Visitor Info/Website: Find out the visitor information and schedule before you visit a site. You can find some information on the website, but many times it’s a good idea to call. There’s nothing worse than going to a museum on a Tuesday and finding it’s closed on Tuesdays.
Check the Site Schedule: If your going to a historical site, they might offer a reenactment or encampment to help you. A college might have a lecture scheduled about the very thing you’re researching. Checking the schedule of the site your visiting can be very helpful.
Guided Tours: When guided tours are offered, always take advantage of them even if it cost more. Most of the time, these tours give a wealth of information, and the tour guides are very informative.
Ask About Experts: Not everyone who works at a historical site is an expert. Some work them consider it just a job. But most places do have historians or experts that can help you. Find out who those people are and when they’re available.
Google: Find as much information about the topic as you can before you visit a site for research. It will help you know what you’re looking for.
Have a list of questions: Decide ahead of time what questions you need answered, and write them down.
Be prepared with supplies you need: Take a notebook or recorder to jot down notes. Also take a camera. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
Ask for a list of resources and books: Many times, a place you go to do research will know exactly where you can find the information you’re looking for. Asking these questions will help you greatly in sorting what resources are important to read.