Research is about advancing knowledge. Simply put, there are many things that we do not know the answer to or how to do and the process of discovering them is research.
In the areas of computers and electronics, examples of research that we do are to find better ways to build a computer, better circuits for implementing computers, or better ways to build circuits. Or it may be discovering and creating a software algorithm that implements a better mechanism in an operating system or it could be writing software (CAD tools) that helps us build better hardware.
The previous examples are very practical or applied and have direct effects on the current state of the art in industry. However, the purists would say that research is really about advancing knowledge without there being any other reason to do so. In an engineering discipline, where the technology is rapidly evolving, I think it is more fun to try and do something that tries to advance the technology, but that is only my opinion! Grad school is where you can find out about research and learn how to do it. You do this by undertaking a research project under the direction of a professor (your supervisor), who guides your work.
For a Ph.D. you have to do some work that clearly makes an original contribution. For an M.A.Sc. many still do some original work, but it is not to the same depth as would be required for a Ph.D. A reasonable M.A.Sc. project would be to build a small chip or circuit that demonstrates some new concept. It is a good opportunity to get your hands dirty in something real.
An important part of either degree is to write and defend your thesis. This may also involve writing a paper for presentation and publication at a conference or publication in a journal. These are non-trivial tasks and if you have difficulty with English, you should look for help as your supervisor will not write the dissertation. A good perk is that you can sometimes go to interesting places to present your paper.
At UofT, we also have a degree called the M.Eng. This is a degree by coursework only, and does not require any research work, although in some cases a small project can be done. If you are only interested in taking a bunch of courses and not doing any independent work, then you should take this program. However, if you are interested in doing a Ph.D., then it is strongly recommended that you take the M.A.Sc. degree because it provides better training for independent research, and you can better demonstrate whether you are capable of Ph.D. work.