This chapter looks at the overall research process or research act. It discusses the research process, which includes data steps, how to develop a researchable question, how data relate to research methods, how to choose a method, and how to know whether the data are valid and reliable. The foundation of planning research is the “research act,” the process of constructing research activities. Data are everywhere and include people, buildings, images, research reports, artifacts, and meeting transcripts that can be found in multiple locations. One way to visually illustrate empirical reality in relation to data is to imagine reality as a multifaceted cake and research methods as techniques that take observational slices out of the empirical cake in the form of data. The complex characteristics of reality can be loosely organized into the two types of data: quantitative and qualitative. This chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.