Why Do Research?
Why do professors
ask you to diligently and systematically investigate a subject? What benefits
are derived from this task?
Creating a large document focusing
on one topic requires sustained and systematic thought. It requires the
author to refine the thesis statement, organize the train of thought,
gather sufficient resources to support the thesis statement, synthesize
the knowledge gleaned from resources, and create a document that actually
follows the train of thought in a logical and readable style. Critical
thinking can happen only when you have enough knowledge to make an informed
judgment. That's where research comes in.
Take, for example,
the issue of stem cell research using cells obtained from embryos. What
is your position on this issue? How would you support your position? Do
you have the necessary facts and knowledge for an informed decision? Where
would you go for that information? What sources are authoritative? Do
you truly understand the arguments offered by the other side? Can you
recognize biases? To engage in critical thinking on this issue, you need
knowledge. For knowledge, you must do research.
Writing well is a skill valued in every aspect
of life. Creating an error-free sentence that is part of a finely honed
paragraph that, in turn, supports a major point is a skill that brings
personal satisfaction and tangible rewards. This can only be done by struggling
with the mechanics of writing, working and reworking a piece until it
is right. Research is intimately tied to writing. The more good-quality
sources you have to back up your argument, the easier the writing will be.
an interest in the subject
This is the unspoken desire of
every professor. Your professor has a passion for the subject being taught.
And perhaps the research paper you are assigned will spark an interest
and you, too, will develop a passion for the subject. This can only happen
if you dig deep and truly understand the intricacies of a discipline.
how to do research
You will be performing research during
your entire college experience and for two to four years beyond that if
you attend graduate school. You may go on to a job that requires
diligent and systematic investigation into a topic. Why not make life
easier and learn the fundamentals of research now?
If your research skills are finely honed, you
will be able to efficiently produce good research assignments. Not only
does that improve your performance in the course requiring the assignment;
it also gives you more time for your other courses.