What is research?
The stereotypical view of research is actually quite different from its practice. Research doesn’t only occur in labs with people wearing white coats and it isn’t only something you do in graduate school. Rather, research and creative scholarship occurs in every discipline and the methods that each discipline uses vary quite significantly.
The initial stages of research are something that you have most likely been toying with during high school and early on in your undergraduate career. For instance, every time that you have inquired about a topic, or performed even a simple Google search about a question, you were in the beginning stages of research. All that was missing was the formal structures and processes that transform your inquiry into research.
With that said, it is important to note that research is not easy. Rigorous academic research and creative scholarship is time-consuming, requires great attention to detail, strong adherence to the standards and principles of your discipline, and takes substantial persistence to complete. These are some of the reasons why it is important to spend ample time thinking about research and creative scholarship in general, and then about your interests specifically, before getting started.
Inquiry to Research
Research begins with inquiry. Simply asking the question “why?” leads to incredible discoveries. You will be performing inquiry, formally and informally, in most all of your courses at the UO. When you take inquiry to another, more sophisticated and nuanced level, it becomes research. Generally, research falls into three categories:
- Basic Research: where you will systematically study phenomena to gain a better understanding and create new knowledge.
- Applied Research: where you seek to solve a particular problem using knowledge, theories, methods, and techniques from your field.
- Creative Scholarship: where you create a new work from your artistic vision or reinterpret existing work.
Now is your opportunity to spend some time thinking about what category of research interests you the most and why. Use the UROP student planning worksheet to write down your thoughts and reasoning. You will use these notes in future sections.
Next – What is undergraduate research and creative scholarship?