Another dot in the blogosphere?

Ah, research

Posted on: April 29, 2016

There are many things that could be said about research.

As a former academic, I share just three truisms:

  1. Publish or perish.
  2. To steal from one is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  3. Practice without research is blind. Research without practice is sterile.

I share a variation of the third truism as an image quotation I created some time ago.

Practice without theory is blind. Theory without practice is sterile.

Most young academics learn the first truism as a graduate student by being mentored or observing professors carefully. If they end up in Research I universities, publish or perish is a constant mantra. Their jobs depend on how much and how well they publish.

The second truism is sneaked in various contexts and said half in jest. It is the recognition that we stand on the shoulder of others, be they giants or not. Combined with the first principle, research can often be a dog eat dog world.

The third truism and couplet is something some researchers ignore. In order to build and stay in ivory towers, no doubt funded by generous research grants, it helps to spout rhetoric that the research adds to the pool of knowledge. It does not have to actually make a larger impact.

Research that is based on practice and informs practice is vital, but it is still sorely lacking particularly in education. Some experts play the old game because they are far removed from the ground.

If you are a practitioner, do not be tempted to ignore research as a result of this. Set up conditions and demand for research that informs practice instead.


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