What is Research

an organized study: methodical investigation into a subject in order to discover facts, to establish or revise a theory, or to develop a plan of action based on the facts discovered

So what does that mean?

Research is often associated with the sciences because it is such an  obvious and important part of the field . . . but what about other disciplines?

Every discipline has organized, methodical study but instead of a research project, other terms are used such as:

  • an inquiry
  • a creative project
  • experience-based learning

Why is basic research so important? The results of research might be a published paper, an artwork, a composition, a business model, an innovative technique, a set of recommendations, a new theory, a debunked old theory. . .the possibilities are endless.

What do Middlebury students say about their research experiences? 

"I found that my research was incredibly valuable in my understanding of psychology as a scientific field. I have gained much confidence in my analytical abilities and SPSS skills. However, from this project, I have truly understood the process in which we as a society learn what we know about pyschology. Any scientific field must be an incredibly collaborative domain for us to advance. This research project, above everything, has taught me this."  Amanda Mulligan, '13

"This was a great way to end my academic career at Middlebury. Had someone told Freshman-Zoe that she would be able to write a 60-page paper by senior year, she would not have believed it. Although I do not plan to continue this research after Middlebury, this experience was invaluable in that it pushed me well outside of my comfort zone. Next time I find myself thinking that I am not capable of doing something, I know that I'll reflect on my Senior Thesis."  Zoe Parker, '13

"Ironically, this project was one of the main reasons for my recent job offer. I just accepted a job at Industrial Economics, which is an environmental consulting firm. On my application, they asked for a writing sample and I attached my thesis.  Then in the interviews, each person asked me about it.  A lot of what they do is working with data and running regressions. Therefore, I was able to speak knowledgably about the topic."  Heather Marrison, '13