Definition of research in US English:



  • 1The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.

    ‘we are fighting meningitis by raising money for medical research’
    • ‘These are rare, though there have been calls for research to establish how significant the risk is.’
    • ‘There has been lots of work on child behaviour, which is borne out by serious medical research.’
    • ‘These experiments were carried out under the guise of medical and scientific research.’
    • ‘Further research is needed to establish the outcomes that mothers themselves value.’
    • ‘The fact is that medical research is not concerned with the welfare of animals, and nor should it be.’
    • ‘As well, educational facilities and space research has reached the stage of advanced nations.’
    • ‘It is too early to draw any firm conclusions on this question from research carried out to date.’
    • ‘I hope over two or three years we'll raise funds for diabetes research which will reach seven figures.’
    • ‘Research funded by drug companies was less likely to be published than research funded by other sources.’
    • ‘It is salutary to wonder how much more beneficial it would have been to have spent these sums of money on medical research.’
    • ‘At its most recent council meeting it agreed to set up a working party to examine impediments to medical research.’
    • ‘From the perspective of medical research, the head is as legitimate an object of study as the kidney or liver.’
    • ‘It offers a very useful starting point and brings together much previous research and primary sources.’
    • ‘He should not be required to carry out any prolonged research, enquiry or experiment.’
    • ‘A place for qualitative research in systematic reviews now seems established.’
    • ‘His first big strike had been the product of careful research and systematic exploration.’
    • ‘The study comes as new research has shown that a third of British workers would welcome the chance to work from home.’
    • ‘Such tools are helpful, but much more work is needed in both primary research and systematic reviews.’
    • ‘One startling fact to emerge from research is the great differences in levels of infection.’
    • ‘We support the humane use of animals and genetic technology where necessary in medical research.’
    investigation, experimentation, testing, exploration, analysis, fact-finding, examination, scrutiny, scrutinization, probing
    experiments, experimentation, tests, enquiries, studies, analyses, work
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    1. 1.1researches Acts or periods of investigation and study.
      ‘his pathological researches were included in official reports’
      • ‘Taxation, diminished by nine-tenths, served only for the maintenance of internal order, the security of life and property, the support of schools, and the encouragement of new researches.’
      • ‘Subsequently two other larger researches were planned but none of them were completed.’
      • ‘Further researches proved that an interrupted current in any coil gave out at each interruption such intense extra currents that the whole atmosphere in the room would have a momentary invisible charge, which became evident if a microphonic joint was used as a receiver with a telephone.’
    2. 1.2as modifier Engaged in or intended for use in investigation and discovery.
      ‘a research student’
      ‘a research paper’
      • ‘The above study should be viewed in the context of a student research project.’
      • ‘After taking his first degree he remained at Cambridge as a research student then became a fellow.’
      • ‘A research paper in the journal Science found the number of new infections was rising.’
      • ‘I actually came across the last name when doing a research paper on Mary Queen of Scots last year.’
      • ‘They gave me great feedback that helped me improve my research papers in various ways.’
      • ‘At Cambridge he quickly built a large active group of research students around him.’
      • ‘Thus, testing the hypothesis developed in this paper remains a future research objective.’
      • ‘He remained there for 50 years, and on retirement signed on as a research student.’
      • ‘I'm currently writing a short research paper on links between magic and technology.’
      • ‘She passed her first year examinations as a Ph.D. research student without difficulty.’
      • ‘The team hopes to get extra cash to pay for more research staff and equipment.’
      • ‘There are more than 12,000 research papers alone on the effect of fluoride on the thyroid gland.’
      • ‘Institutions have been eager to pursue a sharp growth in their output of research papers.’
      • ‘The student might address the research question by comparing and contrasting old and new.’
      • ‘Her research project involves developing armour plating for military vehicles.’
      • ‘When he had been there only about a year, a new research student asked if they could fix a time for a regular weekly meeting.’
      • ‘I have fairly good ideas for two of my research papers, and a vague idea for the third.’
      • ‘On the other hand, my students and my research assistant gained some benefit from this activity as well.’
      • ‘Whether there was pharmaceutical sponsorship of the research papers is unclear.’
      • ‘The book will be most suitable for research students, postdocs and academics.’


[with object]
  • 1Investigate systematically.

    ‘she has spent the last five years researching her people's history’
    no object ‘the team has been researching into flora and fauna’
    • ‘He is currently researching the social history of night in American cities.’
    • ‘He was researching into the production of artificial rubber and fuel.’
    • ‘The study is researching the practice of planting soybeans into cover crops of winter rye.’
    • ‘I am quite capable of researching the effects of both substances for myself.’
    • ‘The article was extensively researched, with hundreds of American teenagers talking about their sex lives.’
    • ‘Students extensively research their subjects, making sure they're not replicating existing work.’
    • ‘You now have an explanation for your second point, that the hours were spent in researching into the law and matters of that kind.’
    • ‘The actress plays Eve, a beautiful scientist researching into the working of the human heart.’
    • ‘He had extensively researched the subject and looked at the links between the men's union and the mob.’
    • ‘This book should be found on the shelves of all those who are researching into or are interested in plant desiccation.’
    • ‘She worked hard and researched new methods of assessment and treatment.’
    • ‘He had spent years researching methods of improving literacy in New Zealand and overseas.’
    • ‘Although still at an early stage of development, it is being actively researched by scientists.’
    • ‘The company takes advantage of the time and resources to explore and research ideas.’
    • ‘Students researched their topic and wrote a paper based on information obtained from peer-reviewed literature.’
    • ‘The Doctor and his team will be researching into how the body can fight heart disease naturally.’
    • ‘Other methods of illustrating the vitality of food and water have been researched within the biodynamic system.’
    • ‘She is still researching their exact functions, but it seems almost certain that humans have comparable genes.’
    • ‘I think this means reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and researching into alternative energy sources.’
    • ‘This is a little researched area, and systematic analyses are not available.’
    investigate, conduct investigations into, study, enquire into, make enquiries into, look into, probe, explore, analyse, examine, scrutinize, inspect, review, assess
    study, read, read up on, pore over, delve into, dig into, sift through
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Discover facts by investigation for use in (a book, program, etc.)
      ‘I was in New York researching my novel’
      ‘it's a piece of work that's carefully researched, strongly argued, and beautifully written’
      • ‘What's the most surprising thing you learned about lobsters while researching your book?’
      • ‘Normally, an author doesn't have to prove that a book is meticulously researched.’
      • ‘John spent over five years researching the book which will definitely be a collectors item.’
      • ‘Her day starts with a round of toast and, if she is not researching the programme, she looks after the show's guests for the day.’
      • ‘He got the idea after coming across the real LAPD bomb squad office by accident, while researching another book.’
      • ‘We will also be researching the international market and following the trends in color.’
      • ‘She began researching the book although many of the ideas are based on games and ideas that she and her husband have done with their children.’
      • ‘The book is well researched and there are times when some real humour emerges from the text.’
      • ‘I was there researching a book, and had no intention of actually doing any climbing.’
      • ‘While small, the errors do distract from an otherwise meticulously researched book.’
      • ‘Although the work is based only on published material, this part of the book is well researched and convincing.’
      • ‘Work continues on researching the market, creating samples and pulling it all together into a cohesive business plan.’
      • ‘They may demand plays and book serialisations and properly researched programmes.’
      • ‘He began by thoroughly researching what time of year would be most appropriate for this type of event.’
      • ‘While researching the book he decided to have a drink in every bar that bears his name, and there are plenty of those.’
      • ‘Bill has backed the scheme as he is a keen metal detector fan and is researching a book on the subject.’
      • ‘He is widely travelled - both as a result of researching his books and because of his work as a freelance travel journalist.’
      • ‘In the course of researching my book, I came to believe that, morally, over-eating is wrong.’
      • ‘Every parent in North America should read this astonishing, thoroughly researched book.’
      • ‘We have been researching the market for a suitable place for a long time.’


The traditional pronunciation of research in British English puts the stress on the second syllable, -search. In US English, the stress nearly always comes on the re-. The US pronunciation is becoming more common in British English and, while some traditionalists view it as incorrect, it is now generally accepted as a standard variant of British English


Late 16th century: from obsolete French recerche (noun), recercher (verb), from Old French re- (expressing intensive force) + cerchier ‘to search’.