I enjoyed reading this post on research by Brent Roberts:
“So what is research anyway? Let me answer a slightly different question that my wife’s aunt asked recently as it will help frame the answer. She asked, “What purpose does research serve?” Now there is probably less consensus on the answer to this question than I’d like, but ultimately, I think the answer is knowledge. Research is supposed to provide knowledge that can be used by others and hopefully the broader society. To illustrate, let me describe the number of ways in which the knowledge we generate might be used.
The most common way that the knowledge we create is used is by other researchers. This is what you’ll hear described as “basic” research because it may or may not have a direct applied purpose. This is about all most researchers can aspire to. We are pretty happy if other researchers not only read our work, but also draw on it to inform their research too. This is important because the knowledge we generate is not only read, but also built upon and extended in meaningful ways by others. The next way our knowledge is used – and ultimately the way our research will most likely influence society – is through teaching. Yes, our research hopefully gets incorporated into the classroom because it is summarized in textbooks or our original research articles are assigned as core reading. In this way, our research forms the material that thousands of students learn in order to make themselves better-informed citizens who hopefully go on to be productive members of society. Finally, our research might be used for more practical aims like shaping social policy set by State and Federal authorities, informing decisions made by employers or other organizations, or helping practitioners treat illness.”
For me, research is about the exploration and creation of knowledge, and the development of wisdom that reveals the truths.
I think research is the bread and butter of many researchers in educational institutions and consultancy businesses. It’s also part of every scholar’s aspirations to pursue their life-long quests for knowledge and wisdom.
Research could allow one to climb the knowledge tower, in educational and research institutions. A researcher could also achieve the pinnacle of fame, through research.