Research for Academic Success, Everyday Life, and Mankind

Why are Research Skills Important?

Research is a noble endeavour, and it is what makes us today. Over the centuries, scientific achievements have contributed substantially to the state of human development and societal advancement. From healthcare innovations to technology evolution, research has addressed some of the world’s most complex and pressing issues, improving our overall quality of life.

Research can be a big word, but don’t let that intimidate you. As a student, you will have abundant opportunities to hone these valuable skills in the scrutiny department that shall benefit you beyond academic success. The ability to source, challenge, and reason; examine and interpret findings; and present your insights in critically informed ways can help you get the job you want, give you an edge in your career, enrich your everyday life, and even groom you to become a subject matter expert.

No matter what stage of life you are at, you can rely on research to help you understand and act on the complexities of the various issues you face. 

Research for Academic & Career Success

  • As you explore scholarship, university, and course options, do your due diligence by researching them thoroughly. Read articles, ask experts for advice, and attend career fairs and admissions open houses to learn more about the opportunities that will shape your future.
  • There’s much to prepare for an upcoming interview. Be sure to study the organisation inside out; read up on its mission, values, culture, clients, and competitors; and familiarise yourself with the industry and its latest developments. You may even want to look up the interviewer to ensure that you’ll ask the right questions and be able to present yourself as the best candidate.
  • All students will need to complete a thesis or research paper at some point in their academic life. Besides being able to locate, obtain, organise, and analyse relevant information, you will learn the necessary writing skills to present a logical argument supported by evidence and cite your sources properly to avoid plagiarism. You will also participate in group projects where research is a collaborative effort, much like in a real-world setting. 
  • Sound research skills are often associated with resourcefulness, a curious attitude, and the ability to analyse and exercise critical thinking. All these are desirable employability qualities. So be sure to show them off in your resume and at the job interview, even if you are not applying for a scientist or researcher role.
  • When you enter the workforce, you will learn that all fields require some level of research, especially in the competitive business environment where it is crucial for organisations to be research-oriented and creative. For example, market insights on the competition and the customer are critical for developing a product strategy. And how else to discover best practices and new technologies but research them?

Research Enriches Everyday Life. Research for the Better of Humankind.

Now, we may not be consciously aware of it, but we are researching extensively in our everyday life. Thankfully for internet access, looking up information has never been easier. We search online for everything from recipes to airfares to word definitions, directions, the weather and even the stars. We rely on research to help us make informed purchase decisions, including that of big-ticket items, such as houses, cars, and other personal investments.

We keep ourselves well-informed about current affairs that impact not just us but also our neighbours (and our neighbour’s neighbours). And through research, we learn about other cultures, societal norms, and codes of conduct to better function in a harmonious, globalised world.

Research Actively; Research Smartly

But being bombarded with large amounts of information has its downside. It is easy to get lost in a sea of reviews, blogs, and user-generated content, with so many people presenting their opinions, observations, and speculations as if they were facts, causing research in a culture of “fake news” to become quite challenging.

All the more, we need to research smarter and more diligently. Don’t just believe everything you read; dig deep, analyse, and investigate. Evaluate your sources and verify your information. Know who are the experts to go to, understand their vision, and decide if you can trust their information. It is okay to practice healthy scepticism, but we should always remain respectful of other people’s opinions. 

So let’s all get our research skills up and not walk around with our eyes closed. Read books and stay abreast of current affairs and trends. Take the initiative to ask questions through the lens of various perspectives and keep an open mind for any answers that may come. Learn to exercise objective judgement based on evidence instead of rumours, and don’t let emotions get in the way.

Given that we don’t know what we don’t know, there is an entire world of infinite unknowns out there for us to start practising our research skills on.