A lot of what we do in our daily lives is based on common sense, what we have learnt from others or what we have learnt through personal experience or observation. But sometimes common sense is not the best approach and sometimes there are conflicting theories about what is best or what works in a particular situation. Moreover, what works in one situation or for one condition might be ineffective or even dangerous in another, or when combined with other measures. Common sense approaches may overlook the impact of external factors which may contribute to what is observed. Even in the domain of healthcare, there are gaps in knowledge, theories about how something might work better and ideas for improvement. As healthcare professionals cannot afford to take risks, research is needed. For, this is even a legal requirement in that pharmaceutical companies cannot obtain marketing authorization (i. e. permission to sell their new drugs) until they have proved to the relevant authorities that the drug is safe and effective. They do this by performing a series of clinical trials. Carefully organized and controlled research enables researchers to test and compare different theories and approaches, explore different methods and learn from other peopleБs experience. It also enables them to rule out or at least consider external factors which might influence their results. For example, before concluding that drinking green tea is good for X, Y or Z, it is important to ensure that the tea drinkers studied do not have something else (i. e. other than drinking green tea) in common such as being more physically active than non-tea drinkers or being vegetarians, which might equally explain the findings.
Another advantage to carrying out research is that for a lot of studies, the findings can be recorded numerically and then statistically analysed in order to determine whether the findings are significant (i. e. the extent to which it can be claimed with a specified degree of certainty that they are not just due to chance). With quantitative studies, the results can usually be generalised to the wider population (e. g. to people with, carers, GPs or lay people in general, depending on the group studied). This is because measures would have been taken to ensure that the group of people who took part in the study were, as far as possible, representative of other people in that category. The advantage to many qualitative studies is that they permit an in-depth investigation into a particular aspect of human experience. They give people the opportunity to explain in their own words how they feel, what they think and how they make sense of the world they live in. Whilst it is not possible to make generalisations about a wider group based on a small qualitative study, in some cases the results may be transferrable to other like situations or groups.
However, the advantage to qualitative studies is that they provide rich, meaningful data and insight into the complexity of human experience with all its contradictions, differences and idiosyncrasies. Some address topics which have not previously been researched and may even deal with controversial, sensitive or taboo issues. Some studies also serve to give a voice to vulnerable or minority groups.
The research conducted by universities can sometimes seem detached from studentsв educational experiences. However, university research can have a profound impact on their lives, even if they donвt realise it. are often keen to talk about their research, especially if they are highly ranked in the area, or are carrying out high-profile work. In fact, current and past research projects are often highly prominent on a university websiteвs homepage. But for a long time, there been considerable misunderstanding about the role research plays at educational institutions. Some students, parents and commentators canвt see the contribution research makes to studentsв experiences. For these people, there is a sense that professors might become distracted and resources may be diverted from the job of teaching students. But, far from doing this, research actually has a direct impact on the quality of teaching students can expect.
For a start, teaching staff involved with university research will have valuable insight into their subject area, gained from active participation in the field. In fact, being at the cutting edge of research in a particular subject can filter through to students. Though projects can sometimes take years, or even decades, to complete, the research is applicable in the classroom right away. This is true for undergraduates as well as postgraduates. While those taking a masterвs may often be more directly involved in important university research projects themselves, bachelorвs students will also benefit from having such up-to-date knowledge, and close proximity to their subject matter. Itвs hugely valuable to know that teaching staff wonвt fall behind the times when it comes to knowing their subject and sector. Being involved in research helps ensure that lecturers are actually engaged in what they are teaching. In addition, it\’s only logical that cutting-edge research can help keep university staff stimulated and challenged, so that they themselves continue to learn. As researcher and professor Dr John Story wrote in a 2012, this can turnВ professors into better teachers because they can empathise with their students. It also reinforces the value of being a \’ lifelong learner\’ в the idea that, no matter what age you reach or how many qualifications you hold, you can always learn more.
There are also more tangible benefits. University research usually requires investment in state-of-the-art facilities such as better laboratories, bigger libraries and specialist equipment. In many cases, universities even get grants and funding from governments and businesses to ensure they can properly invest in whatвs needed for their research. These facilities are largely made available to students, enriching their studies and giving them direct access to better equipment. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, university research also has a hugely valuable long-term and far-reaching impact on students. No matter which subject a student isВ studying, the textbooks and resources they rely on to learn were almost certainly the product of research carried out by academics. And, taking an even wider view, when students graduate they will go on to use products, take medicine and benefit from knowledge that has all been made possible by research. In the UK, one way to see how much emphasis a university places on research is by checking the. This shows the quality, quantity and influence of a universityвs research, which could be taken into account when picking a study destination. After all, research not only expands the open to prospective students by granting universities greater expertise in the field; it can also make the degree itself more valuable.