What is Research?

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Research is a process of inquiry designed to discover new information.

The word research comes from the French, recerche, to search closely.  This process may vary from discipline to discipline. 

In the sciences, research generally follows the hypothetico-deductive method to test predictions deduced from educated guesses called hypotheses.

In the humanities, research is the synthesis of knowledge to create new ideas that can be explored by others. 

In the fine arts, research is the creation of new works and techniques from existing modalities. 

Thus the meaning of research varies across different disciplines.  The one constant theme is that research is an inquiry-based activity that leads to discovery.  The distinction between a student taking a traditional course and one doing research is that the former is a receptacle of knowledge and the latter is the creator of knowledge.