An important part of any research are the techniques and methods that can be used to find out about the feature or process we are interested in. For my research on glaciers, these can be broadly divided into techniques that focus on the surface and techniques that help us see what is happening underground.
We can start to investigate a glacier by simply observing it, we might see evidence that the glacier is melting, for example holes in the ice where water has melted through, water running down the glacier in channels or even lakes forming at the surface. At the sides of the glacier we might see areas where the rock is smoothed and scoured suggesting that the glacier used to flow there so must have been much larger.
If we observe a glacier at different points in time we can start to see longer-term changes, we can decide whether the melting we saw on one day was typical of the glacier. The example below shows the Rhone Glacier in Switzerland, in 1900 the glacier flowed right down to the bottom of the valley and by 2008 it is only just visible! By looking at both images we can see that this glacier is melting and reducing in size. This example is one of many at http://www.swisseduc.ch/glaciers/ .