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How to do Research

Research is a process of inquiry: Asking questions, following the answers

Talk to People: Conversation helps you form your ideas

Talk to people: friends, family, fellow students. Ask them what they think. Use their ideas to spring board your own ideas. Try to talk to different kinds of people about your topic: old, young, rich, poor, of other culture or races, different religious beliefs or political viewpoints. Find someone who disagrees with you. College faculty are experts in their field, so see if you can find who at CR is the expert in your area of interest. Often, you'll have class discussions or exercises designed by the instructor to help you understand and learn how to pose a thesis or research question. Listen, take notes, and participate. Find out what’s important, what people care about, what people are talking about. Use your social network, blogs, or websites. That’s how information and knowledge is generated and constructed, so get in there and be a part of the process. Ask questions, follow the answers.

Formal Interviews:

If you want to, or if you are required for the assignment to interview an expert, it’s best to arrange that for AFTER you have done at least some initial research and have got the basics. Even better, plan your interviews with experts for after you have completed ALL of the possible research efforts from other sources. Professionals and experts are busy people, and it shows respect for them and for their field of expertise, if you already have learned some of the basics. As you proceed through these steps of researching and reading what you find, keep a list of questions that you would want to ask an expert. You want to consult with experts to get their “hands on” or “out in the field” knowledge, or explanations of advanced topics that were not clear from other sources, or to find out the latest and newest information. You want to plan and prepare for your interview to make best use of your, and your expert's, time and effort.