Created By: starstar on July 13, 2011 Last Edited By: starstar on July 26, 2011

Mission Prep Research

Characters spend time to research their actions

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Trope
Do We Have This One?? Is This Tropable?? Needs a Better Title. Needs More Examples.

The Monster of the Week has just arrived in town, and there's only one thing to do...

Read.

Before our Heroes can fight, they - or more commonly, the resident Smart Guy - are going to have to check the reference books to find out all about the monster and how to fight it. This often occurs in a library, although recently computers are becoming more popular.

Since watching people read isn't that interesting, the process is normally shown as a montage or summarised by one character. In-universe, the process can take anything from a few minutes to several weeks.

Sub-trope of Exposition where the original source of the useful information is shown. Often the place where Chekhov's Lecture is heard, and where the writers Show Their Work (or lack of it).

Not to be confused with Shown Their Work, in which the author displays their researching skills. This trope occurs entirely within universe.

Literature
  • Frequently occurs in Harry Potter. Generally undertaken by Hermione, but Ron and Harry are frequently roped into helping. Notable examples include researching Polyjuice Potion, the maker of the Philosopher's Stone, and searching for a way to breath underwater.
  • In Twilight, Bella researches vampires online.

Live-Action TV

Tabletop RPG
  • Call of Cthulhu. This is a standard procedure for Investigators, because understanding what's going on requires careful study of old records, newspapers, and so on. Failing to do so would either prevent the physical part of the investigation from occurring or result in the deaths of the PCs.

Video Games
  • In later arcs of Exit Fate, a certain ancient library plays a large role for this purpose.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door Your first partner Goombella can literally do this in battle should you choose her Tattle ability.

Western Animation
  • Sokka does this during The Library episode, in Avatar: The Last Airbender, where he happens upon a burnt piece of parchment titled, "The Darkest Day in Fire Nation History". Sokka does some digging and eventually learns that there was a solar eclipse which left the firebenders powerless... and that the next one was only three months away. Armed with this information, he begins to plan an invasion to coincide on the same day: the Day of "Black Sun".
  • In an episode of Teamo Supremo, a touristic guide becomes a supervillain and defeats the Teamo with her knowledege of local landmarks (not as dumb as it sounds - she knew perfectly all the territories where they fought). The Teamo only defeats her after an intensive study of the local history and geography.
Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • July 13, 2011
    Hadashi
    • Harry Potter often has to do this, generally at the behest of Hermione. Notable examples include researching Polyjuice Potion, the maker of the Philosopher's Stone, and searching for a way to breath underwater.
  • July 13, 2011
    Aminatep
    It needs a huge freaking warning in red text so that people dont confuse it with Shown Their Work
  • July 13, 2011
    tylerdurden
    In Watchmen comics. In many Batman comics.
  • July 13, 2011
    TonyG
  • July 13, 2011
    hevendor717
  • July 13, 2011
    MiinU

    Western animation

    • Sokka does this during The Library episode, in Avatar The Last Airbender, where he happens upon a burnt piece of parchment titled, "The Darkest Day in Fire Nation History". Sokka does some digging and eventually learns that there was a solar eclipse which left the firebenders powerless... and that the next one was only three months away. Armed with this information, he begins to plan an invasion to coincide on the same day: the Day of "Black Sun".
  • July 14, 2011
    NetMonster
    Mission Prep Research sounds good!

    Happens all the time in Supernatural.
  • July 14, 2011
    TheJackal
    Mission Prep Research and Researching The Threat both sound good. The current title sounds way too much like Shown Their Work to work for this trope.
  • July 14, 2011
    undefined
    • In later arcs of Exit Fate, a certain ancient library plays a large role for this purpose.
  • July 14, 2011
    Lapuspuer
    Western Animation
    • In an episode of Teamo Supremo, a touristic guide becomes a supervillain and defeats the Teamo with her knowledege of local landmarks (not as dumb as it sounds - she knew perfectly all the territories where they fought). The Teamo only defeats her after an intensive study of the local history and geography.
  • July 14, 2011
    Aielyn
    Personally, I don't think Mission Prep Research or Researching The Threat quite capture the feel of the trope, somehow. How about going for a really straight-forward name for this trope? Doing Monster Research.

    The alternative that I see is to go for something that sounds appropriately arcane... something like Monster Lore Hunter (or Monster Lore Hunt, if you'd prefer the trope to refer to the act, rather than the one that does it).

    EDIT: Actually, Monster Lore Search works, too - and has the extra added benefit of having "research" within it.
  • July 15, 2011
    Chlstarr
    Video Games
  • July 15, 2011
    TTurtle
    Research is required for a lot of the Winchester boys' cases in Supernatural. Dean isn't a fan, which gets played with in a couple of comic episodes.
  • July 16, 2011
    Arivne
    Tabletop RPG
    • Call of Cthulhu. This is a standard procedure for Investigators, because understanding what's going on requires careful study of old records, newspapers, and so on. Failing to do so would either prevent the physical part of the investigation from occurring or result in the deaths of the PCs.
  • July 16, 2011
    Aminatep
    What's wrong with the current title anyway?
  • July 16, 2011
    Aielyn
    Well, mostly that it doesn't capture the idea of the trope well enough. As pointed out already, it sounds too much like Show Their Work in terms of concept, and sounds like a Bad Snowclone of Did Not Do The Research, which has nothing to do with researching a monster's weak points.
  • July 17, 2011
    Mimimurlough
  • July 17, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Research Montage (even if it isn't always a montage)?
  • July 17, 2011
    Aielyn
    That doesn't capture the trope's idea, either. This is specifically about going and researching monster/villain weak points, etc, whereas Research Montage could just as easily apply to a scientist working on a problem (I think there's at least one in Flubber, for instance, and one in the modern The Nutty Professor), or a character researching for an exam, etc.

    That said, perhaps Research Montage is worth making - I can definitely think of a number of cases where you see a character doing research through a montage, and it does overlap with this trope in some ways, too.
  • July 26, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    Film: Hellboy has Abe Sapien reading to Hellboy from a book on the creature in the museum. Played For Laughs in that Hellboy has gone into the dangerous room and shot the creature before Abe has finished reading out all of the creature's aliases, one of which is "Hound of Resurrection". Cue Oh Crap.

  • July 26, 2011
    hevendor717
    The protagonists in Yugioh 5 DS typically use The Internet to find out more about their dueling opponents- a smart move considering how dangerous many of them are.
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