I find learning stimulating and exciting, especially when I do not really understand the subject! Sharpening falls into that category - I know the general idea of increasing the contrast of edges and the inherent problem of digital capture, but the detail is a bit beyond me!
So, as I can not really help you, I have compared different techniques - I was amazed at the differences. Sharpening is very subjective, but hopefully these comparisons will help you see the subtle differences. But I should point out that these comparisons are a crude way of analysing different techniques as I have used the same settings regardless of image - but hopefully it will help you start to understand and experiment.
The following sub-pages compare eleven different Actions/techniques, including Local Contrast, suggested/created by the likes of Dan Margulis, Bruce Fraser and others. These actions can be found on the All my Actions page (Post-Processing>PS Actions). To my mind there is a clear no-brainer winner for basic sharpening, but see what you think.
I've also included Jacob Rus's Difference layer action which is a great way to see what is going on. I've shown the tonal differences with an added Level adjustment to set the end points to 85 & 170, making the differences really standout.
As sharpening is basically about tonal difference, I've sometimes put up a Black&White page as well as a Colour one. There are two ways you can inspect these images - without knowing the technique used, or by revealing them and then only looking at the ones that interest you. I would suggest that the former is a more scientific way of initially inspecting the results so that you are not influenced by the names of the people who created them. All of the actions were created on a new layer and have been left at 100% opacity, which one would probably reduce in real life. Many of the actions allow further twiddling (or you could mask etc.), but none has been made. Your screen type, LCD/CRT, will also influence your choices.
The Diff ones will be quicker (to download), then the B&W and finally Colour.
As you know the image content greatly influences the result, so look at the detailed as well as the smooth areas - it is quite interesting to see what the techniques do with both types of areas.
So select a page and then click on the numbers to view and compare them (don't use the back button - you have to click on the numbers).
Remember that sharpening for Printing is different from screen and web page sharpening.