a man looking through a microscope

No, you do not need to wear a lab coat to do research. Nor do you have to take classes in the sciences, have worn a hazmat suit, or need to use beakers, test tubes, or flasks. Research is more about the process than the person. If you have good processes and apply them consistently, then you can do solid research.

For our purposes, we will use a basic but very effective definition for research:

Research is systematic inquiry that produces new knowledge.

Definition synthesized from a wide range of sources.

If you initiate a process and repeat that process consistently, that’s systematic. It has been planned and measured with purpose. If that process produces new knowledge—something you (or ideally most other people) don’t know—you’re onto something.

So, research can be conducted to learn about Tsetse flies, mobile device usage, brand effectiveness, shampoo preferences, or just about anything else. The process decides just how effective and productive that research will be.

Dennis Cheatham

Associate Professor, Communication Design

Miami University