It's the beginning of the day, end of the night, or that dirty weekend, and you saw something - and this something was from a ship or it was brown and furry, or it was in the lake. You tell some friends, the neighbors, and possibly your Mom. After they ask if you've been drinking, they laugh for a while, and/or check you in to a "special hospital". After all of this ridicule; or out of curiosity, you decide to investigate the matter.
We will start from the first day, take the bull shit and deal. Yes they are gonna laugh at you. Then think, "Yep! Use your brain". Sit and think. Find what made you think to get this far, and then do that...whether it is rock music in a room with paint fumes, a quiet library, whatever inspires your thought. Use the internet and see if anyone has seen anything that you did in the same area. See if there is a group that has researched what you saw. Get a little advice, learn, and be schooled; but dont assume they are the authorty on what you saw.
When you talk to these groups be honest. If you were not raped or probed, dont make it up. You are not impressing researchers, your just waiting to get a "Biscardi". Now you learned and grew. Now what do you do? You take the colleagues you met, with the stuff you learned, and research your area. Do the work, cause if they do the work, they control the results. Keep your eyes and mind open. I say open like a scientist not like a girl from Iowa on a bus to Vegas, that really never works out. Collect information that is relevant to your sighting. Then comb threw it and show colleagues; take their info and advice. Don't however do one of theses two things:
1. DO NOT GET mad and pout when you discover that the tracks and scat you collected was from the dog of a local.
2. DO NOT be the person who doesn't share his information with others, at least until you have some seasoning behind you.
I hope this helps new researchers and that they understand that the first time is rough. Yes, you probably will be taken advantage of just like the girl from Iowa. Read my Facebook notes for more...