A writer must research. You don't always have to, sometimes you're writing about subjects you already know. Most of the time though, we're writing about cops and robbers or stock brokers having a mental breakdown. We write about things we have no idea about. Generally speaking, no book published has grossly messed up facts. So, you must research!
Personally, as a writer I feel that research is the best part of the job. Research is what allows us to get out of our little writing caves and participate in society. No matter where you go, if you say the three words "I'm a writer" people will start talking. They'll talk about an idea they had, themselves, or what they do. You will learn more participating in the research vs. surfing the web about it.
Want to do some research on cops? Go for a ride along, go schedule a talk with a local cop. People are interested in helping you research. Not only that, but in the end--everything is research. What do I mean by that? Simple, everything is research, everything you do can be churned out and put back into your novels. This weekend I'm going to Chicago, a fun trip--it's not about the writing, but I can research. Take photographs of landmarks, people watch, take notes on the feelings and what you pass while driving down the highway.
As a writer, everything you do is research. Everything you do is important.
So, the next time you have writers block. Get up. Most people say to sit and gaze at your blank word document, the cursor blinking at you over and over again to mock you. I'm not sure what they think you'll accomplish by sitting there looking at a blank screen growing more and more frustrated with yourself. I say, fuck what they say: Get up. Go out, do whatever you want to do: but make sure you keep writing in mind, otherwise you just screw yourself. So, you leave your desk, and you go to the store. What do you do at the store?
Shop like your character would shop. Forget yourself, what would your main character buy? Are they a health nut? Go hang out in the healthy foods, buy something to prepare later still in your characters mindset. Does your character just LOVE to eat at Applebees? Go there, buy something you normally wouldn't. Write notes. Go to the park, go on a hike, and feel what your character feels.
As a writer, you can always write. You can always work on your novel even when you have writers block.
Research will always pay off in the end, because then after a road trip you will sit back at your desk and you'll have a ton more material than you did earlier.
So, write that novel.