Is Academic Research Losing Its Sheen
Critics of academic research abound and many argue that it is fast losing its impact factor and is a very time consuming process which yields little result. These critics assert that a lot of research is merely reiterating part research work and in this era of immediate information at the individual’s disposal; academic research becomes redundant.
However, these arguments are far from valid and rather one could counter that academic research remains one of the last bastions of quality and effort when it comes to producing original pieces. The process of research has rigorous rules and happens within a certain framework. It is a fruit of labour and effort and a good piece of academic research can actually result in betterment of society, whether in relation to the humanities or social sciences or the pure sciences. For critics, who allege that a bulk the ideas are simply being echoed and repeated, it must be pointed out that academic research follows the strictest norms against plagiarism. The academic community believes in giving credit when it is due, unlike a lot of other fields where ideas and concepts are mass plagiarized.
The process of research is extremely scientific. It requires a great deal of time, energy as well as talent for the particular field. Hence not everybody is eligible to be or can be a doctoral candidate. Generally, the process of academic research is one which tries to maintain integrity of the process. A number of methods have been deemed as ethical for use by the academic community
Since the researcher is dealing with a huge volume of data, it becomes very difficult for them to manage the entire process by themselves. They should ideally be focusing or reading, researching, developing their arguments, research methodology, making their inferences, testing hypotheses, doing a literature review, conducting tests on their theories, et al. This is admittedly a large volume of work. However, these processes are to be solely handled by the researcher. But there are other additional tasks involved in preparing a research piece and these can legitimately and ethically be outsourced others. For instance, a number of researchers employ editorial assistant to ensure that the language and structure of their writing is of a good standard. The editor also looks at the logic and flow of the argument and sometimes suggests restructuring.
Further, statistics is an important component of research. It boosts and enriches the quality of research. But statistics can be complex and time-consuming. Hence it is also legitimate to outsource the statistical work to a statistical consultant. These consultants are very well-versed with statistical procedures and can competently handle the statistics bit of the research. Research assistants are also permissible to help undertake some of the field work such as in the distribution and administering of questionnaires.
The research process involves a large body of work and is expected to meet the highest standards. Research, when done ethically and diligently, can produce some very beneficial results for society.