What does “research” mean?

Research is the ultimate gold standard for what academics do. Yet application of the word “research” had become so broad as to be almost meaningless. Think about it like this. Should we describe the process that scientists use to find vaccines for life-threatening diseases or the process that others use to find a cost-efficient and carbon-neutral bio-fuel with the same word as the process people use when they read Zagat reviews to decide where they’re going for dinner?

— Maid, Barry M. and D’Angleo, Barbara J. (2013). Teaching researching in the digital age: An information literacy perspective on the new digital scholar. In Randall McClure and James P. Purdy (Eds.), The new digital scholar: Exploring and enriching the research and writing practices of nextgen students (295-312). Medford, New Jersey: Information Today, Inc.

I have lots more to say about this excellent book, but as I was reading today this quote leaped off the page at me. It distills the argument I made about what we mean when we say “research.”

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