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Saturday, 21 August 2021 04:12

What are Research Skills and why are they important?

Author:  Erin R. Goodrich

Most jobs actually require some level of problem-solving. You may come across an impediment and come up with a question that you must answer in order to proceed. To answer this question, you will almost certainly need to conduct some research. People with research skills can identify a problem, gather informational resources that can help address the problem, assess the quality and relevance of these resources, and come up with an effective solution to the problem.

What is Research?

Internet Research is the practice of conducting research using Internet information, particularly free information on Internet-based resources (such as Internet discussion forums).

Simply put, research is the process of discovering new knowledge. This knowledge can be either the development of new concepts or the advancement of existing knowledge and theories, leading to a new understanding that was not previously known.

Internet research can provide quick and immediate access to information worldwide, although the results may be impacted by unknown bias, difficulties in verifying the credentials of the writer, (and therefore the accuracy and relevance of the information obtained), and whether the search engine has the capacity to draw significant results from the abundance of available material. Recovered initial resources may not be the most appropriate means to address a certain question. In the structuring of internet search results, popularity is often used, however popular information is not always the right one or represents the wide knowledge and opinion about a subject.

In fact, almost every profession or job necessitates some level of research and research skills. As long as you encounter a question, which is a natural occurrence in almost everything, you should encounter an opportunity to conduct research. When there is a need for research, strong research skills come in handy.

What are Research Skills?

Research skills enable you to focus on a specific goal, gather relevant information, and communicate your findings to others. We are taught from a young age to develop research skills, and for good reason.

Teachers in academia required answers to a series of topic-related questions in an essay. Similarly, your boss may eventually request that you investigate a work-related topic or figure out how to solve a problem.

Why are Research Skills Important?

Research skills are important in the workplace for a variety of reasons, including the ability for individuals and businesses to:

  • Develop new processes and outcomes. You don't have to be involved in research and development to improve the way your team works. Any sensible employer will value your efforts in researching new processes that will make your job (and those of your team) more efficient.
  • Personal Growth. People who have a knack and a passion for research are never satisfied with doing things the same way they've always done them. Organizations require independent thinkers who will seek their own answers and continually improve their skills. These employees will also learn new technologies more quickly.
  • Customer relationship management. In almost every industry, being able to conduct research on your customer base is critical. It's difficult to move products or sell services if you don't know what people want. It is a valuable responsibility to research your customer base's interests, needs, and pain points.
  • Cost Effective. Whether your organization is launching a new product or simply trying to cut costs, research is critical for identifying wasted resources and redirecting them to more worthy causes. Anyone who goes out of their way to find ways for the company to save money will be praised by their boss.
  • Competitor Analysis. Knowing what your top competitors are up to is crucial for any company. If a company wants to stay functioning, it must research what works for its competitors, what they do better than you, and where it may improve its standing with the least amount of resources.

Types of Research Skills

Experienced researchers understand that conducting a worthwhile investigation necessitates a wide range of abilities. Consider which research abilities you have naturally and which you could improve.

Goal Setting

You must first know what you're looking for before you can conduct any form of productive research. Setting goals is a skill just like any other. It will be lot easier to construct a path there if you can imagine the conclusion you're aiming to attain by investing effort into research. Goal-setting skills include:

  • Specificity
  • Time-Management
  • Vision
  • Realistic
  • Planning ahead
  • Organization
  • Accountable

Data Collection

The collection of data is often the first thing to remember when thinking about the research process.Itis systematic process to collect and measure information on variables of interest that allows one to respond to research questions, to test hypothesis and to assess results.

Simply collecting facts and information on the internet can meet your needs for some purposes. More direct and popular research may be needed by others. You will be more impressive with your experience in different methods of data collection. Methods of data collection are:

  • Interviews
  • Questionnaires and surveys
  • Observations
  • Documents and records
  • Focus groups
  • Oral histories

Evaluate and Analyze Information and Sources

In research, it is important to find reliable information suitable for your task. Some tasks may require the use of certain types of sources, such as primary or secondary sources or certain types of journals, like scientific journals. You may need to restrict the numbers sources you use for other assignments.

In all cases, the information contained in your assignments should always be assessed. Knowing how to assess information helps you with research tasks and with your life's bigger decisions. Knowing where to go for information that is relevant, credible, and accurate can assist you in making informed decisions about graduate school, a new car purchase, financial aid opportunities, daycare options, and other topics.

  • Published books
  • Encyclopedias
  • Magazines
  • Databases
  • Scholarly journals
  • Newspapers
  • Library catalogs

Using the internet to gather information

Search engines are used to find the majority of information on the Internet. A search engine is an online service that employs web robots to query millions of web pages and compile an index of the results. Internet users can then utilize these services to search the web for information. While it is beneficial to consult different sources, today's research is driven by good online research skills.

One of the greatest things about the internet is how much information it holds; unfortunately, getting to the data you need requires sifting through a lot of rubbish. Employers value the ability to efficiently utilise the large reservoir of knowledge available on the internet without getting lost in the clutter. The following are some examples of internet research skills:

  • Source checking
  • Searching relevant questions
  • Exploring deeper than the first options
  • Avoiding distraction
  • Giving credit
  • Organizing findings

Due to the sheer size of the World Wide Web, and with the rapid growth of indexed web pages, finding relevant and reliable information demands specialized training and Internet research skills. We provide a centralized virtual platform for knowledge professionals that use the Internet as a primary source of information. This AofIRS is more than just a virtual collaboration and networking platform for researchers and knowledge professionals. The website is filled with free, up-to-date content and reference material that is ideal for research.

Interviewing

Some research projects may demand a more hands-on approach than relying just on online resources. In the research process, being prepared with great interviewing skills can be really beneficial. Interviews can be a good way to get first-hand knowledge for your research, and knowing how to conduct an effective interview can help you improve your research skills. Interviewing abilities include:

  • A plan of action
  • Specific, pointed questions
  • Respectfulness
  • Considering the interview setting
  • Actively Listening
  • Taking notes
  • Gratitude for participation

Report Writing

Report writing skills can help you in both your employment and your academic studies. In any case, the overall goal of a report is to transmit specific facts to its audience.

Communication is crucial for effective report writing. Your supervisor, professor, or general reader should comprehend your findings and conclusions clearly. Skills in report writing include:

  • Formatting is important.
  • Including a synopsis
  • Keeping your focus on your main goal
  • Developing a plan
  • Proofreading\sDirectness

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking skills can help you a lot in the research process and in general as an employee. Your data analysis skills are referred to as critical thinking. When you're conducting research, you'll need to be able to interpret your findings and make rational judgments based on them. The following are examples of critical thinking skills:

  • Observation
  • Analysis
  • Assessing issues
  • Problem-solving
  • Creativity
  • Communication

Planning and Scheduling 

The development of baseline productivity and success standards is one of the most significant components of planning and scheduling. You won't know if you're meeting goals until you have a particular strategy in place with a specific desired outcome defined by a completion date.

It also makes time management considerably easy. Employers value planning and scheduling abilities because they suggest a well-prepared employee. Skills in planning and scheduling include:

  • Setting objectives
  • Identifying tasks
  • Prioritizing
  • Delegating if needed
  • Vision
  • Communication
  • Clarity
  • Time-management

Note-taking

Research involves sifting through and taking in lots of information. Taking thorough notes ensures that you do not overlook any findings and allows you to communicate these findings to your coworkers. Being able to take good notes aids in the summarization of research. Here are some examples of note-taking abilities:

  • Focus
  • Organization
  • Using short-hand
  • Keeping your goal in mind
  • Neatness
  • Emphasizing important points
  • Reviewing notes afterward

Time Management

Unfortunately, we only have 24 measly hours in a day. In a professional setting, the ability to effectively manage this time is extremely valuable. Hiring managers look for candidates who can complete tasks within a specific time frame.

Strong time management skills imply that you can organize a strategy for breaking down larger tasks in a project and completing them by a deadline. Improving your time management skills can significantly boost the productivity of your research. Time management abilities include the following:

  • Scheduling
  • Creating task outlines
  • Thinking strategically
  • Stress-management
  • Delegation
  • Communication
  • Utilizing resources
  • Setting reasonable expectations
  • Meeting deadlines

Other Helpful Research Skills

The definition of research skills is broad, and there are many traits that could help you in the research process. Consider some of the additional research skills below.

  • Attention to detail
  • Reading and writing skills
  • Patience
  • Considering keywords
  • Networking
  • Competitor comparison
  • Multitasking
  • Summarization
  • Presentation

How to Improve Your Research Skills

The great thing about research skills is that many of us use them on a daily basis. When you use a search engine to find information on a topic, you are conducting research. However, there are more proactive ways to begin improving your research skills today:

  • Make a distinction between source quality. A researcher's worst source determines how good they are. Start paying attention to the quality of the sources you're using, and be wary of anything you read until you've double-checked the attributions and works cited. Examine the author's bias, the author's research's alignment with the greater body of confirmed research in the subject, and the journal that sponsored or published the research.
  • Verify information from several sources. It gets increasingly trustworthy when you can verify information from a variety of sources. If you want to strengthen your belief in one source, check if you can locate another that agrees with it. When you run into contradictions and conflicts in your study, you know you need to keep going until you reach a more definitive conclusion.
  • Don't be influenced by confirmation bias. Confirmation bias occurs when a researcher expects a specific result and then searches for data to support that hypothesis, ignoring any sources that contradict or invalidate the researcher's initial idea. Be ready for unexpected responses and keep an open mind. Also, keep in mind that you might not be able to discover a definitive answer. It's preferable to provide the important points of your research to someone (such as your employer) and explain that it didn't lead to a concrete plan of action than to alter your data and give the answer you or your boss want to hear.
  • Stay organized. You'll encounter a lot of material during the data gathering process, from webpages to PDFs to videos. To avoid losing something or not being able to properly mention something, it's critical that you maintain all of this information organized in some way. There are numerous methods for keeping your research project structured, but here are a few of the most common: Bookmarks in your browser, index cards, and an annotated bibliography that you update as you go are all useful tools.
  • Develop your research skills. Professional certification will help you improve your research skills. CIRS™ (Certified Internet Research Specialist), is by far the only professional credential that meets this challenge. Professional researchers owe it to themselves to seek structured certification programs and stay in touch with new materials and tools that are available to transform research problems from very difficult or impossible to quick and simple tasks. We have developed a CIRS Certification (Certified Internet Research Specialist) to educate and train Online Researchers that now form a significantly large group of people involved in digital information research work.
  • Get specific as you go. There's nothing wrong with commencing your investigation in a broad sense. After all, it's critical to become acquainted with the vocabulary and substance of the researcher's results before delving into the details. Orienting yourself to a new topic is an important step that will prevent you from being discouraged and working backwards.
  • Learn how to spot a reliable source. Because not all sources are trustworthy, it's critical to be able to distinguish between the good and the bad. To find a trustworthy source, utilize your critical thinking and analytical skills to ask yourself the following questions: Is this source consistent with other sources I've discovered? Is the author a subject matter expert? Is there a conflict of interest in the author's point of view on this subject?

Related: 3 ways to help students do efficient online research

Source: Uploaded by the Association Member: Erin R. Goodrich
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  • Get specific as you go. There’s nothing wrong with starting your research in a general way. After all, it’s important to become familiar with the terminology and basic gist of the researcher’s findings before you dig down into all the minutia. Orienting yourself to a new topic is a valuable step that will keep you from becoming frustrated and working backward the whole time. 

AOFIRS

World's leading professional association of Internet Research Specialists - We deliver Knowledge, Education, Training, and Certification in the field of Professional Online Research. The AOFIRS is considered a major contributor in improving Web Search Skills and recognizes Online Research work as a full-time occupation for those that use the Internet as their primary source of information.

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