Defining research

Image by Hebi B. from Pixabay

I’ve been talking quite a bit here so far about research and I realize that I haven’t really defined my terms. On the one hand, “research” is a term that doesn’t seem to need defining. You know it when you see it. For example, when you type “research” into Pixabay, the images that come up show things that are recognizably related to the idea of research. There’s a guy staring at a bunch of notes pinned to a board. A microscope. A book with some glasses resting on it. A woman sitting at a computer while sipping from a cup of coffee. Stacks of books in a library. Another woman in a white coat in a lab. Beakers. Charts. Graphs.

Research. Obviously.

But maybe it’s not so obvious.

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Let’s start a conversation: Context matters in research

Image by stevepb on Pixabay

Recently, I listened to an episode of the In Our Time podcast about Emily Noether, a brilliant mathematician who worked with Einstein. After listening to the episode, I was interested in learning more about her. So I looked her up on Wikipedia and read an article all about her life and work.

Was Wikipedia an appropriate source for me to consult in this case?

Many of my students would tell you no.

With all due respect to those students, they are wrong.

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The Role of Research in Fiction Writing: A Suspicion

Image by qimono on Pixabay

I’m using this blog in part to talk about a project I’m working on which involves reading through popular writing advice books to find out how and whether they discuss the role of research in creative writing . Before I get to some of what I’ve found so far, I wanted to spend some time establishing where the idea that research plays a role in creative writing comes from in the first place.

Because let me tell you, it was not, as far as I can recall, in any of the creative writing workshops I took as an undergraduate. If we ever discussed research as part of the creative process in that program, I have no memory of it.

Yet I can’t help but suspect that research does play a role in creative writing.*

Let me explain where that suspicion comes from.

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