I got to thinking about this thanks to a post by Lost Wanderer. Her post involved writing what you want to write, remembering to use the passion you have to get the story out. Don't ask me how I got from that post to this tangent, but that's how it worked out. One problem I sometimes have when coming up with an idea is realizing how much research I might have to do to get it right. For example, my current WIP involves a number of issues, such as alcoholism, homelessness, and child welfare. And that's just some of the issues that affect the MC. So how deeply do I research the topic? I want my readers to really feel they are in the situation, that they are side-by-side with the MC. But I don't want to deluge them with facts either. While it might work well enough for Tom Clancy, it's really not the style I'd like to adopt.
I have a short story I'm working on that I shared a while back, and I had initially intended to tie it in to real world concepts and ideas. My fears of getting too much wrong or treading on truly sensitive material however, have made me change my mind. I'm now planning on making the entire material fictional in nature. It might mirror other real concepts, but I don't want to go through the pain of research in order to tell the story.
The question I pose here is how do we as writers deal with research (in fictional works)? Sometimes the sheer amount of information available to the populace makes me blanch at the thought of including any of it, if for no other reason than the worry of getting any of it wrong. Since I'm a new author, I wager there will be much less tolerance for error than if I were say, Stephen King. Of course, he probably wouldn't get much wrong either, but that's beside the point. How do you deal with research in your writing? How much is enough (or not enough)?