<p>"Research" usually refers to primary scientific research. You have to come up with an idea on your own that has never been studied before in the manner that you propose, then come up with a methodology that can test your hypothesis, etc. Like glassesarechic said, research by itself is not impressive in any way, unless, of course, you have actually accomplished something through the process. Nevertheless, it is a great experience to have in high school.</p>
I obviously want colleges to know that i've done research so would i have to do it in a university lab or something?
<p>Research involves a lot of time and effort, and you may not even discover anything meaningful through the process that is actually worth publishing. I would recommend that you conduct a research project if you're truly interested in the subject area or if you want the experience for the pleasure of it or for satisfying your curiosity, not if you want to do for the purpose of college admissions. </p>
<p>With that said, you don't necessarily need to work in a lab or an institutional setting: you can certainly work on it at home (ex: if it's a theoretical math project), at school (ex: if it is a survey based project)--- I even know someone who did her project at a zoo. However, no matter where you conduct the project, you need to have a "mentor" who can oversee your work. It can be a science teacher at school who's knowledgeable in the field, a school psychiatrist, or, even better, you can contact a professor at a research lab. It does not have to be someone you know personally-- for instance, I know people who, after reading professional research journal articles, contacted the authors of the those articles through emails and slowly built up a professional relationship with a particular person, who later agreed to serve as a mentor to the student. </p>
Also, how can i get my research recognized?
<p>Most of the people I know get their work recognized through local and state science research fairs and other various competitions.</p>