The Quest: Discovering new ideas through research
At Reed College in Portland, Oregon, the student newspaper is called The Quest. It never really lived up to its name, at least not when I was editor for one glorious semester in 1997. Nevertheless, I take it as a mascot for this site, a collection of advice and guides on how to pursue knowledge and discover new ideas through self-directed research.
Higher education is not simply being told what to think. In university study, students “learn how to learn.” Rather than receiving settled knowledge, students in higher education ask their own questions and learn how to propose and to develop new answers to questions which are unanswered and for which there may be no single “right” answer, only better and better answers. At this stage in one's education, one begins to see how one's own “quest” for greater knowledge can add to our collective understanding of the world. Thus, learning how to research an area of inquiry is one of the key steps in a person's intellectual development. It is the higher learning for which universities exist.
In this section of the Anthrocyclopaedia, I present ways to begin this process. Here is a guide: