Here's a quick example of using minimal research to make myself look cleverer than I really am.
My story 'Frights In Light Latin' came about from watching an Eddie Izzard routine in which he pointed out that as latin was a dead language no one actually knew how it should sound when spoken. This made me see the idea of latin being a dead language in a whole new light. Grabbing a dictionary that contained a list of various latin phrases I jotted down all the ones I thought I might be able to use in the story that was starting to form in my head. Then I streamlined the list down from an entire A4 page to half a dozen or so phrases and -- voila! -- the two main characters in the story now gave the impression of being fluent in latin.
Now someone with a full working knowledge of latin could probably have introduced all kinds of clever nuances into the story that were totally beyond me and my cheat-sheet research. But becoming fluent in latin purely so I could write a 3,000 word story seemed above and beyond the call of duty. I think I made the right choice in my research method.