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What is research?
Research is an inquiry or investigation in any academic discipline that makes a significant and original intellectual or creative contribution to that discipline. Every research project is unique, and research is not limited to laboratories. Students can conduct research in settings as diverse as a community, an art studio, a library or a rainforest. Students conduct research with the support of a faculty mentor, and projects can culminate in a variety of ways, including a presentation, paper, performance or exhibition. Topics range from screening herbs for antiviral properties to researching 1940s female script writers to creating artwork that explores issues of racism. While some research projects are heavily influenced by faculty research, others are guided more by student interest. Whether pioneering new findings or extending previous knowledge, research contributes to our body of knowledge in significant and meaningful ways.
Why do research?
Research can be an important supplement to traditional classroom learning. Whether you plan on securing a job after graduation or continuing your formal education in graduate school, independent research projects can give you the competitive edge you need in addition to providing immense personal rewards. Some benefits of research include:
- Developing essential job skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and oral and written communication
- Demonstrating to potential employers and graduate schools adaptability, curiosity, initiative and imagination
- Preparation for graduate school
- Learning more about topics that interest you
- Gaining hands-on experience in your field
- Developing relationships with professors in your discipline
- The opportunity to make new and exciting contributions to your field