Why research skill should not be taken for granted in future work life?

Fundamentally, research is an important skill that every student would need at school. It could either be the pre-work of your presentations at class, the 3000-word worth of essay or exam revision, you name it. However, it can be fairly surprising to know that research is actually a desirable skill that come in handy for various career choices.

But you might be surprised to learn that effective research skills will also come in handy in a wide range of careers. So, in our today’s blog, we’ll take a better look into what research skills are and why they matter at work.

What are research skills?

In a nutshell, research skills assist us finding answers to questions. It is the ability to search for, find, collect, analyze, interpret and assess information that is relevant to the subject being researched/studied. Throughout human evolution, research is what help us to learn new things, to adapt and to evolve. In brief, research is fundamental in shaping the future.

Everyone is a researcher

Some might think, research is a “scholar” thing that only researchers, scientists, undergrad/grad/post-grads do. However, based on the definition that I’ve just mentioned above then we all research on hourly/daily/weekly/monthly basis, on different scale from small-sized topic to a project with significant impact. Nowadays, when internet has become an inevitable part of our lives, performing some simple lookups on search engines, i.e: Google, Facebook, etc. is already considered research – whether if you’re finding a cheap flight, a top-notch restaurant or stalking about someone of your interest.

Things involved in a research work:

The research work, most of the time, includes following activities:

  • Find and gather information from different sources, for instance e-articles, search engines, textbooks or journals.
  • Select the credible information that suits your research requirements
  • Use your critical thinking skills to analyse the information.
  • Interpret your analysis to wider audience
  • Write reports and present your research to others.
  • Reflect on the research and how the process went, so that further studies can be improved

Why do research skills matter at work?

In order to come up with new (if not radical) ideas for better ways of working and innovations, one needs to be a Master of research. That said, employers would like to look for individuals possessing sharp critical thinking that pairs with good research ability. Most development works involve exploring new things i.e innovative methods, tools and processes, then carrying out “Proof of concept” (POC) activities to evaluate the findings – whether if the solution works for the organization’s case, given its characteristics and mode of operations. In simpler terms, research skill demonstrates your ability to suggest new ideas and help the business adapt to ever-changing world that we currently live in.

For many companies, research is viewed as an effective, if not a crucial method in mitigating risks and saving money. For instance, launching a new product is expensive and risky, hence, research on market situation. i.e PESTLE analysis will be of great help for companies to find out if the demand will be high, hence if the market is worth entering. From there, better approach to general strategy formation can be achieved.

Undoubtedly, if you are interested in pursuing a career choice as scientific researcher, then research is apparently your job. Nevertheless, if this is not the case, then research skills will be advantageous across wide range of roles. Below are some examples of where and when research skills might be required:

  • You might need to investigate information about the economy if you have a financial job.
  • If you work in Supply Chain & Operations, you might need to study about new digitalization opportunities for your supply chain, about new tools and processes that can be employed to optimize your operations, etc.
  • If you work in Sales department, you might need to research and write a report about your competitor situation, about market situation or about a new strategy of how your team could sell more products.
  • A digital marketing manager might research ways to reach more customers via social media, etc.

Noticeably, effective research skills also rely on the proficiency of other transferable skills, including but not limited to:

  • Time management
  • Communicating information in a clear and simple way.
  • Taking initiative.
  • Lateral thinking.
  • Problem solving.

Inherently, these essential skills will also be improved once your research skills are enhanced accordingly.

That said folks, do not fall asleep in your research classes!

I hope that this blog post is helpful for you, if not now then at least at some points in the future.

Have a great new week! 🙂 Thank you!

Hanh at hanh.pham@student.hanken.fi