Research: Evaluating Sources Summary Where Research will Happen Why do Research? Research: Using Databases High School Libraries and Academic Libraries Elements of Research Defining Research The Changing Nature of Information Research: Locating Sources Research: Techniques and Tools Research: What is It? The Changing Nature of Information

Why Do Research?

Why do professors ask you to diligently and systematically investigate a subject? What benefits are derived from this task?

Improved critical-thinking skills
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.

Improved writing skills
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.

Spark 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.

Learn 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?

Get good grades
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.
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These pages were written by Glenn Remelts. and edited by Jeffrey L. Nyhoff and Nancy Zylstra
©2005 Calvin College, All Rights Reserved

If you encounter technical errors, contact rit@calvin.edu.