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ENGL 110 (Sybil Priebe's Class)

What is Research?

A scholarly journal article provides something that can't be found in popular resources like a newspaper or magazine. Because scholarly articles are written by scholars (or, researchers), they are intended to provide something crucial: original research. What is real research? Let's start with a definition.

What is Research?

"Studious inquiry or examination; especially :  investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws" (Merriam-Webster)

Yikes, Let's Break That Down

1. Studious inquiry or examination- studious inquiry includes asking questions deliberately and with great care

2. Discovery and interpretation of facts- finding information and then thinking about that information; taking information and turning it into your knowledge

3. Revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts- learning new information might change your beliefs or interpretation of the world

4. Practical application- using the knowledge gained to produce something like a paper or more research 

So, Why is This Important for You?

Popular resources shape our daily lives because these are the sources we consume regularly. When creating original work like you do for a class, though, it's important to utilize original and proven research; this helps validate or expand upon your claims. Utilizing these sources makes you more credible and helps you grow and learn. 

Scholarly and Popular Sources are Both Important...

Often we do research on a topic currently in the news, and with good reason- it's current and it's interesting. Using this example, let's look at how both a scholarly and a popular source can help us in a paper:

Popular resources provide:

  • Ideas and inspiration
  • Quickly published information
  • Up-to-date details 

Scholarly resources provide:

  • Context
  • A broader or historical view of a topic
  • Well-researched facts and findings