The idea of research can be a bit intimidating, as if the purpose is to always discover a great truth. And sometimes it looks like that on the surface, like a fancy illuminated manuscript from the British Library, for example. But sometimes research begins simply because you’re curious about the way other people manage things. And so you call them up and say, “Hey, I was wondering something.” And suddenly you realize that an illuminated manuscript, with all its beauty, can really be just a simple thing with an impressive presentation.
I think about this concept quite a bit when I conceive research ideas. My ideas are usually generated while I or my colleagues are doing our jobs and notice that something could be done better, or we notice that we seem to get stuck at the same points in our processes, or our processes are going smoothly but take longer than we’d like. A simple question can lead to a complex and satisfying answer. One such question that I asked myself a few years ago was, “I wonder what other libraries are doing to market their e-resources?” After a lengthy literature search I realized the answer to my question was “libraries aren’t doing much systematically to market their e-resources,” which led me to write several articles and co-author my first book on that topic. Following a simple question to its end, whether the end is also simple or turns out to be complex, is the joy of research (for me, anyway).
(magnifying glass) http://www.webdesign.org/photoshop/drawing-techniques/magnify-glass.13819.html