Five Reasons Why Research Is Important
Finding reasons why research is important may seem like a no-brainer. But not a few would want to avoid doing so. The lazy, if not mentally drained, student could say, "Not again." And a disinterested academic could just be doing it for promotion purposes. Yet, for those who like to learn - whether or not they are members of a learning institution - doing research is not just an imperative, but a need. What reasons could drive one to appreciate research and engage in doing it?
1. A Tool for Building Knowledge
Research is required not just for students and academics, but for all professionals. It is also important for budding and veteran writers, both offline and online. For those looking for a job, research is likewise a necessity.
Among professionals and scribes, finding an interesting topic to discuss and/or to write about should go beyond personal experience. Determining either what the general public may want to know about or what researchers want them to realize can serve as a reason to do research.
The Brain Research Trust acknowledges the importance of research. Undoubtedly, it is crucial to studying and finding possible cures for diseases, as well as how to prevent them. Thus, research becomes a must to ascertain if one’s ideas are supported by previous studies or if these ideas still need proof to be considered as knowledge.
Furthermore, in developing new products and services, companies invest in research and development (R&D), as these play a critical role in innovation. R&D also helps secure a vantage point over competitors. Finding out how to make things happen and what could differentiate them from similar stuff can raise the company’s market value. Such improved commercial image can help boost both its productivity and profitability.
The unemployed could also benefit from doing research, for it could lead them not just to find potential employers, but if these are legitimate job offers. Without research, the gullible, yet hopeful jobseeker may fall prey to unscrupulous headhunters who could be involved in illegal recruitment and/or human trafficking.
2. Means to Understand Various Issues
Television shows and movies ooze with research - both on the part of the writer(s) and the actors. Though there are hosts who rely on their researchers, there are also those who exert effort to do their own research. This helps them get information that hired researchers missed, build a good rapport with the interviewee, and conduct a good interview in the process.
For their part, some film and TV actors would take time to interview detectives, boxers, scientists, business people, criminals, and teachers, among others. Others would even immerse themselves in situations that would make them understand social and personal issues like living behind bars or in a drug rehabilitation center. Many would read literature, biographies, or journals to have a better view or context of the story.
As what Terry Freedman says in "The Importance of Research for ICT Teachers" (2011): "Research can shed light on issues we didn’t even know existed, and can raise questions we hadn’t realised even needed asking." Thus, almost all writers of imaginary and non-fictive tales also do research because doing so helps them create a good story and/or achieve strong credibility as an academic.
3. A Way to Prove Lies and to Support Truths
Ever experienced feeling that your mate is having an affair behind your back? Some people would overlook that and say that it's better not to know; others though would take discreet action, hiring detectives to do the work. What does research have to do with that situation? A lot.
Doing research to reveal lies or truths involving personal affairs contributes in either making a relationship work or in breaking away from a dysfunctional one. For the monogamous lot, doing research to disprove or prove infidelity is not simply a trust issue, but a right to find out the truth - unless one's intimate partner has already admitted being polyamorous even before the relationship started. When s/he dislikes answering relationship-related questions, including her/his whereabouts, it is better to see that as a red flag and take baby steps to save yourself from what could become a more serious emotional mess later.
Scientists also deal with research to test the validity and reliability of their claims or those of other scientists'. Their integrity and competence depend on the quality - and not just quantity - of their research. Nonetheless, not everything scientists come up with get accepted or learned by everyone, especially when factors like religion, state suppression, and access to resources and social services (e.g., education and adequate health programs) either feed the poor majority with lies or deter them from knowing truths to preserve the status quo.
4. A Seed to Love Reading, Writing, Analyzing, and Sharing Valuable Information
Research entails both reading and writing. These two literacy functions help enable computation and comprehension. Without these skills, it is less likely for anyone to appreciate and get involved in research. Reading opens the mind to a vast horizon of knowledge, while writing helps a reader use her/his own perspective and transform this into a more concrete idea that s/he understands.
Apart from reading and writing, listening and speaking are also integral in conducting research. Interviews, attending knowledge-generating events, and casual talks with anyone certainly aid in formulating research topics. They can also facilitate the critical thinking process. Listening to experts discuss the merits of their studies helps the listener to analyze a certain issue and write about such analysis.
With the wide array of ideas available, scholars and non-scholars involved in research are able to share information with a larger audience. Some view this process as ego-boosting, while others see it as a means to stimulate interest and encourage further studies about certain issues or situations.
5. Nourishment and Exercise for the Mind
Curiosity may kill not just the cat, but the human as well. Yet, it is the same curiosity that fuels the mind to seek for answers. The College Admissions Partners (n.d.) notes how scientific research in particular "helps students develop critical reasoning skills...helpful for any field of higher education..." Such search or the thinking process is food for the brain, allowing creativity and logic to remain active. It also helps prevent mental illnesses like Alzheimer's.
Indeed, research and doing research encourage people to explore possibilities, to understand existing issues, and to disclose truths and fabricated ones. Without research, technological advancement and other developments could have remained a fantasy. Reading, writing, observing, analyzing, and interacting with others facilitate an inquisitive mind's quest for knowledge. Research serves as an instrument to achieve that goal.
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Ways to Improve Research Skills
Are you interested in further developing your ability to do research? There are several steps to do it.
One of the easiest ways to know more about research is to read hard copy and electronic books about it. If you do not have a computer with Internet connection, you can go to the library, a nearby bookstore, or ask a close friend or relative to lend you her/his smartphone or laptop so you could look for books or articles about research.
If you have access to the Internet, you can watch online tutorial videos on this topic. High school students can learn from this presentation, for instance:
Research Basics for High School Students by Journal Storage (JSTOR)
For those who intend to be full-fledged researchers, you might want to attend training-seminars, workshops, and conferences aimed at deepening your knowledge and honing your skills in doing research. These events are conducted by various organizations, particularly universities and "think tank" agencies. Use search engines to look for these opportunities, as well as for scholarships that could help you finance your participation in these activities.
You might also consider searching for reputable researchers in your field of interest, especially if you plan to pursue postgraduate studies. You could email an academic, a scientist, or another professional to inquire about their opinion on your thesis or dissertation topic. Having a research mentor can help you gain a broader understanding of what research is all about.
Another way is to watch films and read different kinds of books, fiction and otherwise. These sources can ignite your curiosity and drive you to seek more information. You might want to jot down notes about the topics discussed and/or what you've learned. You might wonder why this is part of the research process. Watching movies, reading books, and writing various stuff hone your comprehension and ability to analyze. These can improve your vocabulary and aid you in finding your voice as a researcher.