This past week I burned a ton of Amazon credit card points and purchased one of those things I like to justify to myself as "research", when I know full well it's a personal indulgence. Maybe it will turn out to be a useful research item, but it's better for me to be honest about my intentions and think of it as an indulgence first and research second.
I have what could be called a perverse relationship with research material for my writing projects. Most everything I've bought as deliberate research material for my projects ends up taking a backseat to stuff that got pulled into that role from left field.
Example: A lot of the reading I did about organized crime for Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned only provided the most minute details for that story — background, filler, local color. It wasn't the story. Everything that bolstered the story for that story came from outside the research I thought I would most need to do for it.
I suspect that's just the way I operate. I've learned to roll with it, and to let things that I am naturally drawn to out of curiosity feed my work. I never produce good work when I try to strong-arm myself into doing research about a subject. If the work demands I know more about a subject, then the research comes in handy, but never the other way around.
When the item in question arrives, I plan to set aside a blog post or two to talk about it, the research I aim to get out of it, and the future work in question it is intended for. Those who know me may be able to see it as a logical extension of many of my existing curiosities into a new direction.