Research is the process of investigating some claim or hypothesis. It includes a wide variety of activities including collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information.
It can be difficult to determine which of the following activities constitutes engagement in research. The differences between these various activities can be in their purpose and audience rather than their content.
Collaborative research can be intradisciplinary (team of researchers within the same department), interdisciplinary (team of researchers from different departments with shared interests in a specific field), or transdisciplinary (involving people with diverse backgrounds and research interests).
Typically, collaborative teams have varying degrees of expertise, so it is important to clarify who will be responsible for what aspects of the project at the beginning.
Research projects involving collaborations often require a more intense level of engagement and may involve participants contributing to the development of research questions, formulating hypotheses, and designing the overall study framework.
They also may participate in data collection activities such as experiments, surveys, interviews, or observations.
Participants in collaborative research can also be active in the presentation and dissemination of the research results by preparing and presenting research presentations or scientific papers for both academic and public audiences.
Research training teaches students about the scientific process of designing, conducting, and analyzing a study. Students gain hands-on experience by working with a faculty mentor and become familiar with the ethical practices of research.
Participation in research also enhances students’ academic resumes by adding a unique element to their coursework degrees (e.g. Bachelor Honours Degrees).
During the course of their research projects, students develop a range of skills, including leadership and teamwork. They also hone their research methodologies and learn to work in a multidisciplinary environment.
SACHRP recommends that OHRP adopt a new definition of engagement in research that focuses OHRP, researchers, and institutions’ attention on entities and individuals who control the primary features of study design, conduct data analysis, and communicate generalizable results.
A new standard would also remove from the scope of the term “engaged in research” those entities and individuals who do not interact directly with subjects but who obtain for research purposes identifiable private information or biospecimens from any source.
Research proposals are often the first opportunity that researchers have to impress reviewers and funding agencies with their creative, logical, analytical, and up-to-date approaches to a research problem. They are also the first place that researchers have a chance to communicate their passion for a project.
In the background and significance section of a research proposal, you provide a more deliberate review and synthesis of existing studies pertinent to your proposed study.
Writing a good background and significance section requires careful thought about what you are trying to accomplish, as well as a clear understanding of the boundaries of your study. Too many students and grant-seekers fail to do this effectively and end up covering too much ground with their studies.
Research results must be shared so they can benefit society. This involves making them available to the scientific community, the wider public, and other key audiences such as policymakers.
Researchers can share their findings through a variety of methods such as peer-reviewed journals, conferences, public engagement activities, and other media. They can also use social media such as blogs and wikis.
Engaging with research participants at an early stage can help to ensure that dissemination messages are grounded, relevant, and accessible and that the resulting materials are of strategic value for policymakers (e.g. policy briefs and fact sheets).
A number of studies have highlighted the importance of engaging with policymakers throughout the research process in order to maximize interest and uptake of evidence by ensuring that the research is framed within an appropriate context for them.