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Monday, November 16, 2015

When Research Becomes Important

Throughout history research and information has been ignored, and sometimes ridiculed, because it doesn't fit into the standard mold. I am not discussing the quality of the research but the mold in which it was driven and its eventual results. Every great idea breaks the "status qua" in some way and if it isn't being criticized it isn't  worth anything.

Sometimes it takes a decade or more to realize the profound nature of findings. Events take place that make the search for information important to societal stakeholders and result in rediscovery of past research and its importance. Time is the ultimate judge of the quality of findings when seemingly useless findings start taking greater and greater meaning.

Looking back through history you will find that uniqueness and novel have not always been rewarded in society. People expect others to act and be as they are in order to validate the benefits of both themselves and their social groups. In science, there should be no such social buffoonery and instead focus on the method rather than the nature of the research.

Validity of findings are based on their relevancy in explaining a model or an event. Groundbreaking research can be discovered in any field. Sociological research could result in predicting and explaining future events or a discovery of a new pathogen could lead to the savings of thousands of lives. What was once seen as irrelevant can sometimes become profound.

That relevancy is based in a level of accuracy of prediction. Nothing else beyond this matters if the theory actually explains, describes, and predicts some phenomenon. The theory will continue to be adjusted and shifted as now information and events unfold. 

As a person who engaged in research, and has done so throughout much of my life, I would say that some of the greatest discoveries were almost lost or ignored. As time passes and policy makers seek answers that research becomes more and more important. Sometimes it can be so beneficial it influences all research after it in the ultimate adjustment of perspective-a paradigm shift! 

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