Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Why Research?

When I stepped into my first research methods course a little over two years ago, it changed my world. As an academic, I’ve come to realize that many people are confused by a passion for research, but lately, it’s shaping up to be an intense passion. So, what does a beginning researcher glean from conducting empirically based research?

I find that research gives my field purpose. As an undergraduate psychology student, it was hard to imagine myself as anything more than a clinician. After declaring the major, I knew that one either went on to do something completely different in other avenues of education, or you were just that: a psychologist. This course, taught by a young professor who was in his first year of teaching, opened my eyes to the world of empirical research. Throughout the course, we learned everything from the basics of correct source citations and in-text citations to how to propose our own research. The final project entailed our proposing a research project with simulated results. The paper was the most exhilarating one I’d ever written at that time because the work was all my own. The ideas were all my own, and like most of my fellow students, I felt validated and empowered. I finally saw a solid contribution that I could and would make to any field of study. It’s always wise to leave things better than when you found them, and research allows me the opportunity to do exactly that.

Research satiates my hunger to know more. Psychology and related fields are endless contains of knowledge. There isn’t ever  a possibility where someone will know everything there is to know, and that’s almost the most satisfying thing about my hopeful lifetime career in academia. Knowing more also means that the field is able to help people in new, innovative ways that may save a life, a family, hope, joy, love, or any of those things. Because people like myself submit to research journals, we’re contributing to the education of colleagues so that people may enjoy prosperous, productive lives. I always long for that, and research satisfies the longing.

Writing and presentation are two of my favorite academic assignments. Obviously, I’m a blogger, so I enjoy writing, but words are truly beautiful things. I came to appreciate them when I began to read at 4 years of age, and it hasn’t stopped since. Using those words to help advance the field and to help people come to new understandings is simply a joy. In terms of presentation, it thrills me to find ways to interact with others about my research interest, as well as to help them become more educated and involved regarding the topic. During my first conference presentation a little over two years ago, it was most definitely exhilarating. Helping others to find interest by way of my presentation or my writing is thrilling, and by communicating findings, I feel as though I’ve paved the way for additional questions to be formulated.

Many people ask why I am so excited for graduate school, and it’s fairly simple. It’s rooted in research, learning, and teaching.

No comments:

Post a Comment