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Research is... Research can...

Mia Alvarado, Thesis Writing Specialist, is teaching a Thesis Boot Camp this half block to provide students with strategies for approaching advanced writing projects.

“A tracker, in difficult weather…” 

 Mary Margaret Alvarado, Thesis Specialist

Research is listening: perhaps to cells or tools, puns or affidavits, beats or the dead. It happens in community, even when solitary. It partakes of any art form in which one considers what goes next to what. It works to see the (or a, or another) “World in a Grain of Sand.”

Research is the art of questions, then asking questions of those questions, then better (stranger, sharper, more surprising) questions, forever.

Research can be creative, elegant, and beautiful.

{To read: Everything Sings (Wood); The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Fadiman; For the Time Being and Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Dillard; Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Agee; Pulphead, Sullivan; The Control of Nature, McPhee; Random Family, LeBlanc; Thrown, Howley; etc, etc!}

Research is political, ethical (or not), and may exact a price from the researcher (most peaceful rest, Iris Chang).

Research is informed by history, through which facts become artifacts.

Research is circumscribed by epistemology, something often invisible to us, stuck here in history like we are.

Research can follow a via positiva, a via negativa, or both.

Research is not exclusive to scholars, and need not solely use the tools of one’s discipline or cohort.

Research should cultivate our ability to attend and demands humility.

Research is an antidote the invention of boredom.

Research takes time.

Research can be understood through analogy and relationship:

One is a miner, in a mountain;

A mapmaker, surveying the territory;

Marie Kondo, in a closet;

A mosaic artist with a wall and thirty-  

   times the necessary tiles;

A tracker, in difficult weather;

A lawyer, addressing a jury;

A party host, at the head of a long,

lively table of guests, some of them dead…

 Tiny findings in research can change everything, and do. They can also, of course, change you.