Why Publish Research Findings?

Why do you have to publish your research findings? Is it really necessary? Here are five reasons why you should do so.

Once you already have conducted your research and came up with conclusions supported by facts, it is not only necessary but a virtuous action to publish it. I have listed at least five reasons why research findings should be published.

Five Reasons to Publish

1. You add to the body of knowledge

Surely, your discovery will enrich the pool of literature on a given subject. Your findings will strengthen the arguments of others while it will refute others. It will help shed light on issues that need resolution and it will also help build theories.

Remember, a theory arises from a culmination of facts documented and discussed by a lot of researchers. Theories are plausible explanations of phenomena based on insightful thinking from evidences that were systematically gathered.

Simply, a theory is just a generalization from what has been discovered so far. Thus, it is always possible that a new, better theory will arise with new tools available for research.

2. You will become a recognized expert in your field

If you have published a lot of research on a specific topic or issue, you will gain credibility and become a recognized expert in that particular field. If ever there will be government or non-government organizations who will need consultants along the area you focus your research on, you will have an edge over others who have not published anything.

You just have to make sure that you do your research right each time. Doing it right implies that you employed a rigorous investigation. Rigorous means you applied an extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate[1] approach in your review of literature, methodology, results and discussion, and conclusion(s). The methodology, in particular, is crucial because if it is found defective or could not be replicated by others, the rest of the paper will be rendered spurious or unreliable.

3. Your findings will help develop or improve on existing policy

Research findings are very important inputs to policy making. Sound policies for good governance may be developed if policy makers are made aware of the results of your study. This is referred to as science-based policy making. This policy making approach can save a lot of time, money, and effort. A costly hit-and-miss approach is avoided.

For example, the implementation of the policy on reducing traffic congestion and air pollution that I discussed earlier, may be made more effective if baseline research has been made before its implementation. Performance before and after policy implementation can then be compared.

Lawmakers should be mindful of the dynamics of the local setting where they intend to bring order. Hence, simply copying laws elsewhere without due regard to the specific needs and concerns of the local populace may not work.

In many developed countries, researchers are recognized by their governments as crucial players in policy making. This may be one of the reasons why those countries, though not that perfect, are progressive in many respects. Evidence of support to researchers usually come in the form of grants or fund allocations for research.

For example, in a highly developed country like the US, the President’s 2014 Budget proposes to invest $3.2 billion for research infrastructure alone[2]. Note that this is an investment, not a cost that sees no results. If you invest, then you expect a good return on investment. Research, therefore, must provide benefits that far outweigh the cost.

4. Your publications will help you advance your career

The number of quality publications you have produced can prop you up the ladder of success. Universities give credit to meritorious research work that advance knowledge and bring about innovation. Publishing your work will also give you a better chance of getting a promotion.

publish or perish

Large companies allocate a portion of their annual budget in research and development. As a result, greater income is expected from innovative products. If you have been tasked to develop such products, then that will be a good opportunity for economic gain.

5. You will gain inner satisfaction

If you are able to publish your research findings in a reputable scientific journal, that gives you an inner confidence that indeed you have been a good researcher. After endless nights of writing and re-writing your manuscript, you finally reap the fruits of your labor. It’s a painstaking process but the end justifies the means. Nobody can buy what you feel. Just don’t get it over your head for it always pays to be humble.

Before publishing your findings, it will be good practice to present your research in scientific gatherings relevant to your field of expertise. Engaging colleagues will help you improve on your research paper through their critical comments as well as suggestions.

If you are not that confident in making an oral presentation in front of a large audience, then presenting your paper in poster form will be one of your best choices. I listed quick tips on how to present research findings in a poster in one of my writing sites elsewhere. You may read these tips in the library of Douglas College.

Surely, there are other benefits that can be derived from publishing your research findings. But the greatest benefit for all your pain will be sharing your knowledge to make this world a better place for everyone. Of what use are your findings if you are the only one who knows it?

References:

1. Oxford Dictionary, n.d. Definition of rigorous in English. Retrieved on July 20, 2013 from http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/rigorous

2. Office of Science and Technology Policy, 2013. R & D Budgets. Retrieved on July 20, 2013 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/rdbudgets

© 2013 July 20 Patrick A. Regoniel

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