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Research is a way of looking for new information, new understanding, and new facts. A person who does research is called a researcher. Some researchers work in academia. Other researchers work for businesses, for organisations, or for the government. Research is often used for solving problems or increasing available knowledge. This can be done by testing theories and making observations. Research usually prefers to be systematic, organised, and objective. Research is used in many different fields of study such as science, mathematics, and the humanities.
If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?—
Researchers take part in field or laboratory experiments, reading relevant books, journals or websites, taking notes and making conclusions. Teaching and lecturing is only part of the job of a professor or researcher. When they are not directly teaching classes they are often working on academic research. Learning institutions can vary widely in what they expect from members of their faculty. Most expect faculty members to set up their own laboratories. They hire their own lab employees and obtain their own funding, often from more than one source. Academic researchers often compete for grants to fund research at their own university. The more money researchers can attract, the higher the prestige of that university.
The scientific method is the usual way of doing this kind of research. It is meant to improve understanding of biology, engineering, physics, chemistry and many other fields. With this kind of research, scientists can understand the world, and discover useful things.
Some basic principles of research
Any research should be:
- Systematic: from a hypothesis or working objective, researchers gather data according to a scheme set out in advance. They use the data to change ideas or add new knowledge to that already existing. The approach used in research is the scientific method.
- Organized: members of a research group use the same definitions, standards and principles. This is part of the detailed plan.
- Objective: conclusions from research must be based on observed and measured facts, not on subjective impressions. The conclusions should be unbiased.
Basic activities at research process
- Studying available information on the subject.
- Physical or computer modeling.
- Measuring the phenomena.
- Comparing the obtained results.
- Interpreting the results with the current knowledge, considering the variables which might have influenced the result.
Types of research
- Basic research, also called fundamental research or pure research, aims to understand nature.
- Applied research aims at using the new knowledge to do something.
Research must be published so the world can learn from it. Nature, Science and Proceedings of the Royal Society, are general scientific journals. Many special journals are published. Research must pass the peer review process in order to be published.
- Bung, Mario 1967. Scientific research. vol 1: The search for system; vol 2: The search for truth. Berlin:Springer.
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- Daniel J. Howard; Frank N. Laird (Fall 2013). "The New Normal in Funding University Science". Issues in Science and Technology, Volume XXX Issue 1 (University of Texas at Dallas). http://issues.org/30-1/the-new-normal-in-funding-university-science/. Retrieved 4 October 2016.