What is research? (basic definition)
Research is nothing more complicated than ‘finding out’ about a particular topic of interest. Most people are ‘natural researchers’ as they track down relevant information.
In Higher Education, ‘research’ has come to be associated with finding out ‘new knowledge’ - pushing the frontiers of understanding. At undergraduate level this means simply a fresh understanding of the topic.
You carry out research every time you prepare an essay or assignment. However, you might well also have to complete a longer dissertation, often in the final year before graduation. The purpose of this is threefold: to help you consolidate your learning; to give you a chance to use your academic skills to explore a topic of your choosing; and to prepare the ground for later postgraduate work by getting you to extend your existing research skills.
What is research (formal definition)
Research is a systematic process of discovery and inquiry. It involves finding, documenting, analysing and evaluating critical information as well as collating, analysing and evaluating data. Research is carried out to:
- To increase knowledge
- To contribute to new knowledge
- To evaluate bodies of knowledge, viewpoints, the validity of a hypothesis or theories.
- To generate questions for further inquiries.
- To evaluate and develop practices.
After reading and understanding your assignment brief, research usually starts with the library. Visit the online library resource guide for subject guidance and tips.