Research: Why and What

Why do we do research?

  • Research is as much about exploring questions as it is about finding answers.
  • College students are part of a scholarly community whose functions revolve around learning and creating knowledge.
  • Graduates may become scientists, entrepreneurs, health care professionals, or artists.
  • Whatever you become, students contribute to what we as a society know, do, and make, and it all requires research.

Here’s a short video about researching through the library…

Presenting An Argument

Often, an assignment requires that you present an argument or draw a conclusion about a set of facts. This requires gathering the facts and then interpreting them in order to state your opinion. Simply presenting facts that you’ve researched is not enough. As a student scholar, you’re being asked to find meaning and/or present a well-informed opinion. So, what do those facts, taken together, mean? What picture can you paint now that you have those facts all lined up?

For this kind of assignment, you will likely need multiple sources. This is so that you can compare and contrast the arguments laid out by the authors. Depending on what your instructor has assigned, you may need a couple of articles, a book chapter, maybe a reference entry.

Looking for collections of pro/con material on “hot topics”? Try these Library databases.

Finding resources

Using the library’s OneSearch tool, you can search for your topic and then filter for the type of resource you want.

Learn more about the Library’s OneSearch tool

Whose words do you trust, and why?

Take a moment to think about this: when you learn something new, how do you decide to believe or disbelieve that information? The information could be shared with you in the form of a news article, a social media post, a photo, something your friend tells you. When you choose to believe something, you are choosing to trust that this source, an individual or group, has the authority to share that information. In our world, everything is represented as information, and we each give authority to certain sources. As we interact with information, in regular life, and in college life, it’s good for us to think about why we grant that authority.

topic curiousity

Learn more about evaluating sources