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ENGL 500: Research and Critical Writing

Research is a Conversation

"...research is not just finding something that already exists, but an endless...process of discovery that creates knowledge...To 'research' is to encircle, and the object of that encircling is not to find but to define." - Reed Wilson

When you start a research project, you're entering into a conversation that, in many cases, has been going on for a long time. Other people have been thinking and writing about your topic, and your job is to listen to what they've said, and then to contribute something interesting back to the conversation. 

This video might help you understand how this conversation works. 

What is literary theory?

Literary analysis is often practiced within the framework of a particular set of ideas or methods. The study of these ideas or methods is the study of literary theory. Throughout history there have been many schools of thought about what types of analysis are good and worthwhile. If you're interested in learning more about different theory of reading and analyzing literature there is a wonderful article in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Literary Theory.