Research skills mean the ability to discover new facts through systematic investigations and consequently, update or increase one’s current knowledge base.
There are two general categories of research: basic and applied. Basic research skills refer to the ability to increase one’s scientific knowledge through investigation. However, the requirement of research skills is not limited to medical or science fields alone. It is one of the most important aspects of every small or large organization.
Usually organizations rely on the second category, applied research skills, which essentially refer to the ability to utilize basic research for problem-solving purposes, or for the development of new products, processes, or techniques etc.
Why are research skills important
For a successful organization that has good profits and professionals with outstanding performance, it may be tempting to believe that it will continue to operate the same way in the future without much efforts. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple.
Professionals within an organization are responsible for making some important decisions for the prosperity of the business, which they would not be able to do without being well-informed about their surroundings. For instance, a research on your target market will help you determine the needs and wants of your potential customer so that products/services can be offered accordingly.
An investigation of the competitive landscape will keep you abreast of your competitors’ actions and help you learn about the new marketplace and industry trends. Research skills can also help with the inquiry within organization i.e. to analyze the performance of the departments and compare with the projections made.
How to improve research skills
The following tips can help you improve your research skills and become one of the most valuable employees of the organization:
- Challenge yourself. Researching in the field of your expertise is always convenient but it can limit or even undermine your career. You must challenge yourself to tackle new problems, use new research methods, or undertake a different geographical area or field of study to add versatility to your portfolio. This will show your employers how capable you are of bringing new perspectives to the table for problem-solving, planning, or other important decision-making purposes. However, whatever research you undertake you must be able to do it so well that you are seen as the master of it.
- Use both primary and secondary data sources. For a thorough research, the best approach is to collect as much data as possible. Primary data collection means conducting written or electronic surveys to collect information first-hand. Whereas gathering information from the already available sources such as published company reports, newspapers, or other scholarly articles etc. is known as secondary data collection. It is always better to use both. For secondary data, however, you must consult all multimedia sources that provide information on the issue.
- Organize effectively. Organizing the data is as important as gathering it, if not more. When you present it to an audience, it should make sense to them. Therefore, all the collected data must be carefully analyzed and organized such that it helps in making important decisions for the organization.