Introduction In the last chapter, we saw that many teachers do have the motivation to do research, and the problems that need research, and that some teachers have the opportunity to do so. This chapter first steps back from the classroom to examine general ideas about what research means in various realworld contexts, and then looks at what research specifically in language teaching does, and what special characteristics such research displays. In what follows, we will compare and contrast views of research in other fields; evaluate common views about research in language teaching; discuss the contrast between basic and applied research; look at the relative importance of description and intervention in the context of the problem under investigation; and explore the differences between quantitative and qualitative kinds of research both in terms of methodology and also in terms of underlying assumptions. This will be followed in Chapter 4 by a fuller account of the criteria by which research itself is evaluated, with some discussion of how 'teacher research' compares with research by researchers (usually in universities), on those criteria. Chapter 4 will then go on to deal with some important general principles of research design.