1. Before the lecture, think about everything you have learned and discussed on the topic of performing information search for the issues under study. What do you expect to learn more about in this lecture? Write three predictions below.
Did you know that in college and university research has a different meaning than it has in high school? In high school it means information retrieval. You have a research topic. You retrieve information on that topic. You look it up and then you take that information and you put it in your paper and that's your research. In college or university information retrieval is not research. It's an aspect in research but it's not research. Retrieving information does not make you a researcher. It makes you a retriever. Now don't misunderstand me there's nothing wrong with retrievers. Some of my best friends are retrievers but we shouldn't confuse them with researchers because researchers are a different animal. But compare the two.
How are retrievers and researchers different? For one thing retrievers move in a straight line because retrieving published information is usually pretty straightforward but researchers don't move in a straight line because they're trying to answer questions that don't yet have neat and tidy answers. They often face obstacles and have to zigzag or go in circles for a while. They often have to try different approaches because some approaches just don't work that's why researchers have to be more tenacious than retrievers, more reflective and brooding, and more ambitious.
The goal of researchers is to see further than previous researchers were able to see. They do this not by rejecting the work of previous researchers but by relying on it and building on it. As Isaac Newton famously put it: If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. The underlying reason why information retrievers and researchers are different is that information retrievers look up existing knowledge, what we already know, while researchers pursue new knowledge what we would like to know. That's the key difference. Lets illustrate this.
This map shows the territory that an army has control over in an armed conflict. The army's goal is to expand the territory under its control and add new territory. To do that the soldiers have to be positioned at the front not in the interior. Researchers like that. The goal of research is to take the existing knowledge on the subject and expand it by adding new knowledge. To do that researchers must work at the frontier of knowledge trying to answer the questions that confront us at the frontier. What does this have to do with you? When you choose a research paper topic you can't focus on existing knowledge. You have to choose a question at the frontier of knowledge that question will be your research topic.