Research is what you do when you find yourself in a situation where you need outside information to solve a problem or accomplish a goal. It involves:
understand your situation
define your goals
describe the question(s) you need to address.
listen to the ideas and perspectives of others
engage in conversations relevant to your questions.
how has the encounter with other ideas changed you?
find some way to share what you have learned
Before coming to University of Redlands, you may have learned about research as something related to school assignments, in which you cite authoritative, scholarly sources in a formal paper or presentation while complying with a style guide such as MLA or APA. This is one important situation in which you'll engage in research as a student.
However, this understanding of research as applying outside information to address a problem also relates to situations in everyday life, such as:
The time you spend honing your research skills as a student will repay you many times over after you graduate!
I am encouraging you to think of research as open-ended, driven by your interest in a problem and the availability of relevant information, rather than solely limited to certain kinds of academic assignments. This is especially meaningful when you're taking arts classes where most of your assignments are about creating or interpreting art.
Works of art carry interpretive meaning for artists and audiences; they are shaped by agreed-upon conventions such as form and genre; and they are often inspired by real-world places, events, people and details. Arts research explores each of these aspects.
What might research look like in these situations?
Research skills are relevant to creativity in all of the arts. They help you find inspiration, engage with larger traditions and concepts, and ultimately produce better, more informed work.
Research is a process with several stages. As you move through the research process, you can expect to see changes in three areas or dimensions of learning:
What you feel
What you know how to do
What you know about your research topic or problem
Several factors influence how you experience the research process, including the amount of time you devote, what you are studying, what kind of question you're posing, and how you approach learning new things. Growing as a researcher is about deepening your understanding of yourself and the world, and becoming more flexible in the strategies that you can apply to address your research questions.
Below are images of several ways that librarians have depicted the research process.
What does your research process look like?
The other tabs on this guide will help you get started searching or browsing for information in the library, link you to recommended databases for research in this subject area, and help you learn how and why to cite sources according to formal style guides.
Finding information and citing sources are just two pieces of the overall research process. To see the overall big picture and go into more detail about skills useful at different stages of the research process, see my open educational resource, Introduction to Library Research in the Arts.
Visit this open educational resource to learn more about research.
For more on "looking inward" see the chapter Developing Your Topic
For more on "making sense" and "communicating" see the chapter Using Information Ethically
Project Information Literacy, a nonprofit research institute, found that college graduates most commonly needed information to learn life skills such as how to manage money, make household repairs, or advance in their career. Check out this infographic summarizing their findings:
University of Redlands participated in the study. Here's what the study found out about University of Redlands graduates: