How to do research?

The question of how to do research is the central question to be addressed by the discussion group which motivated the setting up of this weblog. It’s not yet clear to me how we as a group should go about addressing the question. We’ll just have to try several different ways, and try to identify ways that work. I can, at least, identify a few important goals from the outset.

  • Exploration: Identify important issues and problems involved in doing research.
  • Analysis: With the issues identified, try to break them up into smaller pieces, susceptible to individual analysis.
  • Synthesis: Try various ways of putting things together into coherent (and preferably enlightening) narratives.

Good methods for doing these things might include:

  • Brainstorming lists of issues and questions, which are then to be described, and used as fodder for further analysis, finally to be put back together again.
  • Identifying good source materials for discussion. Once again, the material can be analyzed, and then synthesized with other materials.