I do believe in research but , I also feel people in this hobby can make themselves insane micro managing the Chemistry of it all.
I think you are right to slowly make adjustments to learn what works with your water, in your tank, with your plants, growing under your lights, with your fish swimming in water that you change on your schedule.
I feel the best tool is a camera. Take pics keep track of the progress you make. It get very obvious when you can look at pics taken say the 1st of each month.