BREAKING NEWS: WRB Reaches 50,000 Copies Sold!

Where Research Begins has reached 50,000 copies sold worldwide. Thank you to everyone who believed in WRB from the start!


Plenty of books tell you how to do research.

This book helps you figure out WHAT to research in the first place, and why it matters.

The hardest part of research isn’t answering a question. It’s knowing what to do before you know what your question is. Where Research Begins tackles the two challenges every researcher faces with every new project: How do I find a compelling problem to investigate—one that truly matters to me, deeply and personally? How do I then design my research project so that the results will matter to anyone else?

This book will help you start your new research project the right way for you with a series of simple yet ingenious exercises. Written in a conversational style and packed with real-world examples, this easy-to-follow workbook offers an engaging guide to finding research inspiration within yourself, and in the broader world of ideas.

Read this book if you (or your students):

  • have difficulty choosing a research topic
  • know your topic, but are unsure how to turn it into a research project
  • feel intimidated by or unqualified to do research
  • worry that you’re asking the wrong questions about your research topic
  • have plenty of good ideas, but aren’t sure which one to commit to
  • feel like your research topic was imposed by someone else
  • want to learn new ways to think about how to do research.

Under the expert guidance of award-winning researchers Thomas S. Mullaney and Christopher Rea, you will find yourself on the path to a compelling and meaningful research project, one that matters to you—and the world.

Read the Table of Contents and an excerpt.
Read the Mainland Chinese edition.
Read the Taiwanese edition.
Read the Japanese edition.
Read the Korean edition.
Read the Polish edition.
Read the Thai edition.


An innovative and insightful primer for anyone about to embark on a research project. This is a book anyone teaching research methods, introduction to research, or an undergraduate research program needs to make use of and assign to their students.

Harry J. Elam Jr., President of Occidental College

Mullaney and Rea have given us a little gem of a book, packed with smart, readable, compassionate guidance on the biggest question: how to start and what to do next. Read it, use it, read it again.

—William Germano, author of From Dissertation to Book

A practical, helpful, and reassuring guide for those facing the scary task of defining a research topic. With clarity, humor, and compassion, Mullaney and Rea provide a step-by-step guide to figuring out what interests you, why, and how to tackle the problem you have defined. It will prove an invaluable addition to research-centered courses as well as a guide for individual readers seeking to define their intellectual agenda.

—Sarah Maza, author of Thinking About History