Taking a fresh approach to integrating key concepts and research processes, this undergraduate textbook encourages students to develop an understanding of how ecologists raise and answer real-world questions. Four unique chapters describe the development and evolution of different research programs in each of ecology's core areas, showing students that research is undertaken by real people who are profoundly influenced by their social and political environments. Beginning with a case study to capture student interest, each chapter emphasizes the linkage between observations, ideas, questions, hypotheses, predictions, results, and conclusions. Discussion questions, integrated within the text, encourage active participation, and a range of end-of-chapter questions reinforce knowledge and encourage application of analytical and critical thinking skills to real ecological questions. Students are asked to analyze and interpret real data, with support from online tutorials demonstrating the R programming language for statistical analysis.