Academic research is vital, but it’s pointless if we’re not using it.
Academic literature, and the world of academia more generally, can often be seen as being disconnected from the ‘real world in which we spend our time. As we negotiate life’s challenges and trials, it’s sometimes hard for us to see how the work done by academic researchers has any impact on our day-to-day. Indeed, even in conversation, when someone considers a point less than worthy of considering, we often hear, “That’s just academic.”
However, academics through the ages have significantly impacted our world concerning the law, policy, medicine, education, etc. Still, sometimes that disconnect between scholars and the rest of the world’s population is hard to ignore. Though little by little, that disconnect is being fixed, and the gap between research and application is being bridged. That is precisely why I love my job!
I have spent the last few weeks following the Year 2 research projects from the Master’s Degree in Communication, Behaviour, and Credibility Analysis. What’s amazing is that the largest proportion of our EIA students are working professionals, business owners, individuals that want to expand their career horizons, and students that want to make tangible differences in their immediate socio-cultural environment. This leads to exciting proposals for research ideas and our great pleasure in supporting and watching those ideas develop, grow, and reach their conclusions.
Earlier this month, we spent two days watching a group of Year 2 students passionately discuss the research projects they’ve been working on. For each presentation, we heard from students that had spent a year attempting to identify how they could make a difference in their own personal and professional worlds. Projects in areas such as improving sales processes; exploring options for making changes in education systems to help children develop emotionally; increasing the effectiveness of intelligence agents in building field-based relationships; helping the public think more critically about the media they consume, or ensuring that the tools we use in analysing behaviour are explored and evolved. This is just a handful of examples of some of the projects we’re lucky enough to support every year, and long may it continue.
Research Practitioners Are The Future
In a recent call with Dr David Matsumoto from Humintell, who has devoted years to furthering our understanding of human communication, he referred to this as being a “Scholar Operator”, someone that is endeavouring to expand our knowledge in a field but equally to apply that knowledge in some way. EIA uses the term “Research Practitioner” for this same approach to student guidance.
We strive to be a robust platform on which students can stand while they explore the academic landscape related to the area they are passionate about or have experience in. We support those same students from that platform as they develop their ideas and jump confidently into their research year, confident that the EIA team is championing their goals and ambition to make their own mark on that “research” landscape.
If our students’ projects and the tangible changes they are looking to make in the world following their studies are anything to go by, we are confident that research is going in the right direction. We are so proud of every student that studies on our programme, as they demonstrate time and time again that you don’t have to wear tweed or a lab coat to be involved in research and that research can be the catalyst for a new business, career, product and way of life.
So, it’s not “just academic”… With passion and support, you can make huge differences in what we know about the human world and improve many people’s lives by applying those discoveries. I, for one, am excited for our current student cohorts and all those that follow!