Why Research?

Why Research?

This module will discuss the importance of research in the academic community and the barriers that prevent faculty from participating in research.

Learning Objectives

By completing this segment, learners will be able to:

  • Identify types of research.
  • Analyze perceived barriers to conducting research.

 

A Brief Rationale for Research

Research and scholarly expectations have increased on college campuses across the nation as scholarly productivity has become an increasingly important priority for faculty members.  The research being conducted on college campuses covers a range of purposes and has both academic and non-academic implications.  This research provides much of the foundation for knowledge that makes possible the innovations and advancements in wider society, thereby creating social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts. 

With the increasing emphasis being placed on research by faculty and the potential for significant impact, why are many faculty apprehensive about beginning a research program?  Approximately 26% of faculty in a survey of 40,000 reported that they do not write on a weekly basis (Lindolm, et al in Belcher, 2009). Oftentimes ideas fall by the wayside because the research and publication process seems a mystery too complex to conquer.  What are these perceived barriers?      

Overcoming Perceived Obstacles to Research

1.      I have no idea where to start

  • Welcome to that start! The Research Ready program will provide you with the guidance and resources.
  • Did you know that a dialogue about writing can help potential scholars come together to work through writing anxiety (Rocco, 2011).  The resources and suggested reading in this section will assist you.
  • Grand Canyon University also offers research mentors to guide you.

2.      I am not a great writer

  • Ready for a shock?  Your writing will not be perfect. It is a skill that is explored and developed, but it is not a perfect or easy process (Rocco, 2011).
  • Once you have written your drafts- seriously imperfect as they may be - resources exist on campus to assist you in revisions.  Remember, the work most difficult to read is that which has not been written.

3.      I don't have time

  • Will anything create big gaps of time for writing? Probably not. The reality is that faculty are busy and have to make time. However, you do not have to make a lot of time.  According to Belcher (2009), it can just be that 15 minutes of writing a day can get you well on the way to your goals.
  • Create a commitment. Invite peers to join you in this commitment so that you can support each other. Give yourself goals and deadlines.

4.      It will interfere with my teaching

  • For a student focused instructor, "publish or perish" may seem to miss the mark. Taken in another context, the creation of scholarly work can, in fact, boost your ability to meet your student's needs. 
  • Refer to the Resources and Suggested Reading on this page for additional information on the positive impact that scholarly research can have on your teaching.

5.      I am not an expert

  • For those just beginning to publish, it might be hard to imagine yourself as an expert. However, if you thoroughly research your topic in advance and understand your own project, by the time you have completed the data collection and analysis, you will be the authority on your own results.

6.   What is in it for me?

  • An article may seem like a lot of work, especially in times when the author actually has to pay a publication fee! But it is an investment. An article well done and promoted can lead to other academic opportunities that lead to recognition, invitations, promotions, and avenues for compensation (Rocco, 2011).
  • Promotion can be a big incentive to publish, but it can also be based on a curiosity and a desire to explore ideas in a professional dialogue (Rocco, 2011).
  • The value of scholarly networking can be beneficial for your career (Rocco, 2011).

Suggested Readings

  • Belcher, W. (2009). Writing your journal article in 12 weeks: A guide to academic publishing success. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.
  • Brew, A. (2003). Teaching and Research: New Relationships and Their Implications for Inquiry-    Based Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Higher Education Research & Development. 22, 3-18.
  • Jacobs,R. L. (2011). Developing a research problem and purpose statement. In Rocco, T.S. andHatcher, T. (2011). The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Lindholm, J. A., Szelenyi, K., Hurtado, S., & Korn, W.S. (2005). The American college teacher: National norms for the 2004-2005 HERI Faculty Survey. Los Angeles: UCLA Higher Education Research Institute.
  • Marsh, H.W., and J. Hattie. The Relation Between Research Productivity and Teaching Effectiveness: Complementary, Antagonistic, or Independent  Constructs?  Journal of Higher Education, 73, 603-641.
  • Rocco, T. S. (2011). Reasons to write, writing opportunities, and other considerations. In Rocco, T.S. and Hatcher, T. (2011). The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Wallace and Wray (2011). Scholary reading as a model for scholarly writing. In Rocco, T.S. and Hatcher, T. (2011). The handbook of scholarly writing and publishing. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Resources

What is Research? - This link provides an introductory overview of the purpose of research, the types of research and the research process. 

Why Research Matters - In this video, ASU faculty and student researchers explain why research is important, what makes university research special, and how it benefits students, the university and society.

Why Research? - If you are looking to involve students in your research, this link may help you de-bunk many of the myths that exist among students regarding research.

5 Reasons that Research Rocks! - The Research Whisperer is a blog dedicated to the topic of doing research in academia. It discusses how to find funding, research culture, and building academic track-records.   You may subscribe to the blog on the right-hand side of this link. 

Does Faculty Research Improve Undergraduate Teaching? -This journal article discusses the impact of faculty research on teaching in an undergraduate setting, emphasizing the benefits to students.

The Mystery of Faculty Priorities - This article in Inside Higher Ed describes the shift in higher education over the past decade towards an expectation of faculty research. 


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