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ENC 1102 - Composition II

What is Research?

You conduct research on a daily basis. You are engaging in research whenever you

  • start with a question or problempeople with question bubbles
  • examine different sources to get more information
  • assess the information you find
  • and generate a response or solution.

There are different types of research, from more general research on finding the best route to get to your destination, workplace research to help you do your job more efficiently, to academic research for a college composition research project. 

 Good academic research questions should be

  • clearly written
  • focused
  • complex (avoid simple yes/no questions)
  • arguable.

Your question or problem will determine what type of research you conduct. Research can be divided into two main categories:

  1. primary research  
  2. secondary research. 

Starting Your Research

When beginning your research project, Lunsford (2021) advises you to consider the context. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What's the purpose of the research project? (to describe, analyze, persuade, explain, etc.)
  • Who is your audience? Who will be interested, and what will they need to know? What assumptions might they hold?
  • What is your own stance or attitude toward your topic? What influences have shaped your stance?
  • What kinds of sources do you need to find? What kinds of evidence will help your audience understand or agree with your position?
    • Primary sources: provide firsthand knowledge, basic sources of raw information
    • Secondary sources: report on or analyze the research of others, descriptions or interpretations of primary sources
  • What are your assignment parameters? How long is the paper expected to be? How much time will you have to complete it? When is the project due?

General Research Resources