Broadly speaking, research can be defined as an investigation or study of particular materials, subject matter, or sources, in order to establish facts or otherwise contribute to a discipline, area, question, or theme.
We can think of research as a cycle, with different, discreet stages. The first stage involves identifying a subject or topic of interest, understanding the topic through a literature review, and developing a question within this landscape. The second stage is to consider how to find the answer to the question you have developed; what methodologies, or approaches, will you use in your research. The methodological approach you choose will depend on your discipline and on the topic you are investigating, but might include anything from data collection to critical analysis to interviews or other forms of research. Finally, research involves drawing conclusions and sharing this information, through publications, conferences or other means, with the wider research community.