Rhetorical research is a thoughtful and strategic approach to seeking and evaluating information in order to solve problems, make decisions, and/or communicate effectively. Most likely, you have engaged in rhetorical research without even knowing it. Consider a time when you needed to make an important decision. For example, how did you decide to attend SCC or buy your new phone?
Most likely, you sought out information to help you make the decision. You may have looked at reviews online, asked trusted friends or family about their experience with their phones, and compared cost and features online. Once you gathered the relevant information, you used it to make the best decision for yourself. In other words, you started out with a specific purpose for seeking out information (buying a new phone). Next, you thought about the best places or people to consult for information. Then you used that information to make a decision. This process is a form of rhetorical research.
Academic or professional rhetorical research follows a similar strategic process. You may have some experience with research assignments from other course work or from your job. However, research and information finding is a constantly evolving process due to the nature of how we find, evaluate, create, and share information in our mostly digital world. In this book, we will focus on how to develop a research strategy that you can apply to your academic, professional, and personal life. You will learn how to begin the research process and how to choose sources that will best suit the type of information you need based on the type of research you are doing. The strategies and processes that we will discuss can be applied to any of your courses and many different types of assignments (not just traditional research papers). You may find these skills beneficial in your professional career and your personal life as well.
- Research is about finding new information and expanding your understanding of a topic.
- You already have experience with research, and you will continue to build on that experience