|Reading a Journal Publication on a boat|
There are professors out there that love....just love...love...numbers! Where I might run in the other direction and jump for the latest SPSS software they are more likely to pull out their scientific calculator and do number crunching for the fun of it! I swear they think of it like a puzzle that needs to be solved.
Personally, I enjoy exploring new unique ideas that other people haven't come to full understanding about. For example, is our economic system based on financial transactions or the neuro-economic choices we make? Or something like a sociological perspective on how social chatter leads to perception and future decisions.
Specifics or wild conjecture have advantages for society. New quantitative research often provides better understanding of how connected variables are. Qualitative mental exploration of untested ideas leads to major paradigm shifts in research. One change in a new association often leads to complete changes in society.
People who do research spend hours, days, years and decades exploring the same topics over and over. Some have even given over their whole lives to discovering a new idea. One idea can put a person into the mental hall of fame like Einstein but doesn't often do much for their checkbooks. Don't expect to be rich but try and enjoy the ride.