The accessibility of the internet has made most information available to anyone at any time. It’s great to have limitless knowledge at the tip of your fingers, but there are some pitfalls.
For one, it can be difficult and time-consuming to find the most accurate information amid the extra noise. The advancement of scientific inquiry isn’t likely to advance with a random but convincing blog post light on facts, for example.
It’s crucial to have a culture of people who are working hard to discover new information and document it in a reliable way. This is why academic research is important.
We’re going to explore the value of academic research in this article. Hopefully, we can give you some idea of the importance it has had in the past and continues to have today.
Why Academic Research is Important
There are many fields that require you to engage with academic research. Most people use research most heavily when they’re in college. Research citation tools are an essential piece of the academic writing process.
Writing academic papers requires that a person cites academic research to make arguments. Trained professionals are also required to engage with academic research in a lot of instances.
Individuals can rely on academic research because it’s absent of personal opinion. That objectivity is where we’ll start our exploration of research’s importance.
The Scientific Method and Objectivity
Any light research into the state of the media today will show you that, whether justified or not, there is a great deal of mistrust.
People aren’t sure that their news sources are giving reliable information or if the messages are skewed in favor of one opinion or another. Many reliable sources do objective work every day, but the fact remains that the potential for an unreliable narrator exists.
It’s only natural, considering there’s one person writing the material and the result is bound to their personal opinions. We need the media to provide us with information, though, and it’s often their style and personal take on a story that makes their work so engaging.
On the other side of things, there are areas of inquiry that require objectivity and as little personal influence as possible.
The Scientific Method
The scientific method is a longstanding formula that, hopefully, prevents false conclusions. Additionally, it defends against personal opinion and preference.
Ideally, people will trust the scientific method against all diverging opinions. Scientists accept conclusions that come from academic research until new information comes forward.
The method prompts individuals to do a few things. First, a person asks a question. Then a person or team does research on that question. They follow by making a hypothesis.
That hypothesis gets tested with experiments. After the data comes in, researches can either accept or deny their hypothesis. When followed, this method is an excellent defense against mistakes and unchecked ideas.
Academic research follows this rigorous method. It’s incredibly important to distinguish academic research from speculation or personal opinion. We’ve entered a period where personal opinion is ubiquitous on the internet, and there’s a lack of awareness as to what is fact and what is speculation.
Peer-Reviewed, Ensures Accuracy
Another defense against misinformation is the fact that most academic research is peer-reviewed.
This simply means that all research, methods, and conclusions are examined by other professionals in a field. These professionals should revere the scientific method and its principles above other loyalties.
Our description of the scientific is admittedly brief. There is a lot of work and discipline that goes into a proper study. All of those steps are double-checked by trained professionals who, hopefully, have objectivity in mind.
We should appreciate the work that researchers do and celebrate opportunities for them to get exposure.
This strict adherence to truth is the foundation of what makes academic research important. It is the baseline of all advances made in our understanding of the world and each other.
Whether you’re inquiring into the nature of the atom or discovering how the human mind understands sound, objectivity is key.
Technology is Conceived Through Research
Research into the world of physics, biology, economics, and culture all translate into insights that change the way we live.
Most notably, those insights lead to an understanding that contributes to the development of new technology. We could labor over numerous research insights that have benefited all of society, but we’ll discuss a couple of the most fundamental for the sake of brevity.
Without the principles of Newtonian physics, our world would still be very simple. All of the technology used today would be impossible without those principles.
The law of gravity and the theories of special and general relativity have made almost all of our technology possible.
Those theories were given scrupulous criticism because they defied what humans thought about the world. Although those ideas were radical when they were conceived, they held up under the scientific method.
Similarly, groundbreaking research is conducted every day. The ideas explored may even be controversial or troubling to some people. The fact is, though, that we benefit greatly when people dig deeper into reality through academic research.
A Catalyst for Changes in Society
The impact of academic research is spread through all tiers of human civilization.
As we inch forward, changes are made that benefit all people. Research into microbiology finds a way to decompose plastic. Inquiry into the cosmos demystifies longstanding cultural myths that people have accepted for centuries.
The changes caused by academic research are both practical and cultural. Advances in medical technology, for example, can extend the average human lifespan by a large margin. Research into ocean water might prompt a solution to human dehydration in the near future.
From the soles of your shoes, all the way to the work your dentist does to prevent gingivitis, academic research has been silently improving the quality of your life since before you were born.
On the other end of things, cultural shifts are caused by new understanding. People will generally change their opinions when faced with reliable, fact-based evidence. For example, research on human diversity and biology has given us information that discredits racism.
As we dig deeper, we find that our similarities far outstretch our differences and that claims to demean or dehumanize people from different races are entirely false.
Modern Examples of the Importance of Research
It can seem like the world of research is reserved for professionals and academics until the benefits reach society.
Academic research expands through most areas of modern life, though. The value of research is evident in a lot of the most pressing issues of our times, and a few examples might be useful.
1. The Climate
Whatever your personal opinions on the state of the world’s climate, it can’t be denied that academic research is the avenue that will bring us the most understanding.
Every layer of the climate change issue is informed by academic research. We know that the earth goes through periods of long climatological change. There’s evidence of glacial advance and retreat as well as other signs that the earth enters into natural periods of change.
These changes, the science tells us, are prompted by slight changes in the earth’s orbit. Currently, shifts in fundamental pieces of ecosystems, climates, and more are all telling us that another shift is taking place.
Each component of the vast effects of climate change is informed by academic research. From geological evidence to animal behavior to our understanding of climate itself, research underpins the understanding.
The body of data and academic research that compose our understanding of the climate crisis is interpreted by those in power. Nasa, one of the more respected scientific institutions, claims that there is a greater than 95 percent chance that human behavior is causing global warming.
In the case that action is taken to counteract the causes of climate change, academic research will guide our response.
Research is needed to understand the global systems that contribute most to carbon emissions. Academics will work to uncover the alternatives to current materials and processes that are affecting the environment.
If those efforts are going to have any notable effect, the actions we take will have to be informed by the scientific method and identified through academic research.
2. The World of Business
The business world is heavily informed by academic research. Businesses use research to understand markets and make profitable decisions.
This benefits consumers as well. For example, a business wouldn’t be very effective if it had no idea what consumers wanted. Alternatively, consumers would be disappointed if businesses didn’t know their needs.
Research is conducted to find the desires of consumers. Research also ensures that the products and services provided to consumers are safe and reliable. There are a lot of things we use every day that have the potential to be very dangerous.
Take any one of your household appliances, for example. Without sound understandings of the technology and machinery used in those devices, the manufacturers would be unable to promise that your microwave wouldn’t explode.
You wouldn’t know if your heat would stay on through blistering cold winters. You couldn’t know that the packaging that holds your ground beef would protect against disease.
All of those safety measures and technological advancements are underpinned by research.
3. Political Opinion
Most politicians make dozens of claims every single day. As people of power, those claims have a huge influence on thousands of people.
Now that social media is synonymous with politics, claims can reach hundreds of millions of people in a matter of seconds. It’s important that there is a force in place to fact-check the claims made by people of power.
Research is used to determine whether or not politicians are being honest or trying to manipulate the masses. Further, research is needed to create the data that politicians use to inform their audiences.
Things like polling numbers, environmental data, global economic figures, and more are all the results of research.
So, the next time you click on a political article in your feed, try and make note of all of the potential research that went into the claims. Additionally, try to see if any claims aren’t reliable. As we mentioned earlier, it’s pretty easy for a journalist or blogger to make false claims these days.
How to Use Academic Research in Your Life
In light of all of the information above, you might be wondering how to approach the world of research. It would be impossible to fact-check or understand all of the research that holds up the world around us.
That said, it’s possible to engage with academic research in ways that are meaningful to you. You can start by identifying some of your most prominent opinions and beliefs. Write these ideas out on a piece of paper in as much detail as you can.
Once you’ve got a visual of these opinions, find a credible source of academic research. Browse through different papers and see how your opinions hold up under the scientific method. There’s so much research out there that you’re bound to find material that relates to you.
It’s enlightening to learn that we’re wrong about something. It’s encouraging to find out that our opinions are in line with academic understanding.
Additionally, take your media sources to task on their claims. The next time you read a really bold claim online, try your best to get to the bottom of it. Check the sources of the article and do your own research if sources aren’t provided.
As we become more informed, our world will be a better-ordered and more reliable place. All of the information is available to you, all you have to do is sit down and do some research of your own!
Want to Learn More?
Clearly, it’s important to understand why academic research is important. Research helps us in all areas of our lives, and there’s limitless knowledge out there for you to discover.
Contact us to learn more about academic research, how to access it, and the things it can do.