These days I’m pretty methodical about it, but then, at this point, I’ve got a handle on where to look and what my important historical sources are. Originally it was hit or miss because I was reading out of curiosity rather than because I planned to write a series of historical fantasy novels. As a result, I stumbled around a lot.
One of the earliest movies I remember seeing in the theater (I was 6) was The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, but I’d no more count that as research than a viewing of Aladdin, although the former is an occasional guilty pleasure. I certainly wouldn’t count the Sinbad movie as the thing that launched my interest in Arabian fantasy, though it surely ignited an interest in adventure movies, heroic swordplay, and the thwarting of evil villains.