Most jobs require some form of problem-solving. You might encounter an obstacle and come up with a question that you will need to answer to move forward. To answer this question, chances are you will need to have research skills to do some investigating. This kind of investigation is known as research.
What Is Research?
Research is the investigation of sources or facts to establish or draw conclusions. In an academic context, people often think of research in the sciences and the social sciences. But really, you will need to conduct some kind of research in any academic subject or while performing any job.
In fact, nearly every profession or job requires some amount of research and research skills. As long as you come across a question, which is a natural occurrence in almost everything, you should come across an opportunity to research. And when there is a call to research, strong research skills definitely come in handy.
What Are Research Skills?
Research skills mean that you are able to identify the answer to a question or a set of questions. Research questioning can lead to many different kinds of research. You might get started by using search engines to find reliable sources. You can evaluate information by scanning search results to embark on your research project.
What Is the Purpose of Research?
Research can serve a few different purposes, depending on the kind of research you are doing. The three main kinds of research are exploratory, descriptive, and explanatory.
Exploratory research seeks to explore a general question and possible answers without necessarily seeking one singular, specific answer. Descriptive research is often data-driven and seeks to describe research findings in great detail. Explanatory research is often more qualitative and does seek explanations to substantiate it and its findings.
Below is a deep dive into the kinds of general research skills you will need to excel in any field, especially tech.
Different Kinds of Research Skills
Below are a few basic types of research skills that might help you get a better sense of what research is and why you need to master research skills.
Searching for Information
In its most basic sense, research is the search for information. This can take on many different forms. Though in 2020, we are all used to using Google as one of our primary research methods.
Older generations remember having to go to the library any time they had a question about the way the world works or any time they needed to search for information.
Attention to Detail
By paying close attention to detail, you can conduct better research on a micro-level, noticing details and storing them away for future reference. During job training, an information session, or a webinar, for example, you can conduct research just by paying close attention to detail. This can also involve taking notes so you don’t end up forgetting all of this detail.
You will likely never come across a question or a research question with absolutely no time limit. Research almost always requires time management skills to make sure you can get everything done on time.
Depending on the kind of research you’re conducting, you may have to manage your time between one kind of research, interviews, for example, and another kind of research, such as online web searches.
Research is all about problem-solving. Without problem-solving, research would just be looking for information. But research is about searching and then identifying information that provides a potential answer to a question or a solution to a problem.
Research results are useless if you don’t know what to do with them. Ideally, you will have the resources and ability to apply your research findings to your question or your problem.
If you’re working on a team, you should be able to describe your research, your research methods, and your research results to your teammates. The goal is to get others on board by communicating your results.
Online Research Skills
In a time when the Internet is overloaded with so much information, it’s hard to know what to trust. Though online research is by far the most accessible, it can also be the most difficult.
Internet users using the web for research, including simple search engine searches, should understand how search engine results work and how to discern the reliable from the unreliable sources.
Below are a few tips for conducting discerning online research responsibly.
Ask the Right Questions
Remember that all research starts with at least one question. The question you are asking absolutely makes a difference in the kind of research you will want to be conducting. It also makes a difference in how fruitful your online research might be.
Ask the right question by considering how you are phrasing the question and what words and terms you are including in the question. To do this, try to be as specific as possible to get to the root of the question you are asking.
Check Your Sources
Always do some research on your source pages. Is the domain something you’ve never heard of? Does it look very outdated and low-budget? If the answer to these questions is yes, you might want to find more reliable sources. You will also need to evaluate the actual information you find from your sources, which might even require a bit of fact-checking.
Never Plagiarize, Always Interpet
Even if you find exactly what you’re looking for in an Internet search, you will need to interpret what you find. Never take anything for granted and always reinterpret information in your own words.
Conclusion: Start Your Research
Whatever your question, all you have to do to develop research skills is get started. Like with anything else in life, practice makes perfect. Good luck and check out our other Career Karma resources as you embark on your research projects.