Research is a Conversation

This video tutorial discusses how scholarly research is similar to a conversation, and relates reading, asking questions, and presenting information to the elements of conversation.


Hey have you walked into a party fashionably late? You show up and the conversation has already started.

What's everybody talking about?

There are two types of people in this world. The uniformed loud mouth who jumps in without looking at multiple points of view and just says whatever he thinks without considering the conversation that’s been going on, or the person who listens first, then questions and engages.

Research is a conversation and you are part of that conversation as a student. But. It's important to note that this party has been going for quite awhile. Long before you got here.

As you begin your research, with a question or an idea in mind, you'll want to see what's being said. You need to catch up on the conversation in order to participate and add something new.

These conversations are going on in the

  • Humanities
  • Architecture
  • Business
  • social sciences
  • and the sciences

In a conversation, first you listen.

When doing research, first you read. By reading the work of scholars in your field, you're listening to the conversation and getting ready to ask your own questions.

In a conversation you ask clarifying questions.

When doing research you ask questions and then see if you can find answers in previously published books and articles.

In a conversation you engage and respond with your informed point of view.

When doing research, interacting or joining the conversation might be you

  • writing a paper
  • creating a poster
  • designing a study
  • making art
  • getting a patent
  • or just giving a presentation

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