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Research is finding out what you don't already know. No one knowseverything, but everybody knows something. However, to complicate matters,often what you know, or think you know, is incorrect.
There are two basic purposes for research: to learn something, or to gatherevidence. The first, to learn something, is for your own benefit. It is almostimpossible for a human to stop learning. It may be the theory of relativity orthe RBIs of your favorite ball player, but you continue to learn. Research isorganized learning, looking for specific things to add to your store ofknowledge. You may read SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN for the latest research in quantummechanics, or the sports section for last night's game results. Either is research.
What you've learned is the source of the background information you use tocommunicate with others. In any conversation you talk about the things youknow, the things you've learned. If you know nothing about the subject underdiscussion, you can n either contribute nor understand it. (This fact does not,however, stop many people from joining in on conversations, anyway.) When youwrite or speak formally, you share what you've learned with others, backed withevidence to show that what you've lear ned is correct. If, however, you haven'tlearned more than your audience already knows, there is nothing for you toshare. Thus you do research.
THREE TYPES OF RESEARCH
There are three types of research, pure, original, and secondary. Each typehas the goal of finding information and/or understanding something. Thedifference comes in the strategy employed in achieving the objective.
Pure research is research done simply to find out something by examininganything. For instance, in some pure scientific research scientists discoverwhat properties various materials possess. It is not for the sake of applyingthose properties to a nything in particular, but simply to find out whatproperties there are. Pure mathematics is for the sake of seeing what happens,not to solve a problem.
The fun of pure research is that you are not looking for anything inparticular. Instead, anything and everything you find may be joined withanything else just to see where that combination would lead, if anywhere.
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