35 Research Skills in the Workplace: A Brief Overview

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In most of your college courses, you will be asked to research topics so that you can learn more about them. But the same research skills you are practicing in your classes are also critical to success in the workplace. Here are some general ways that you may use research in your future career, regardless of your pathway:

  1. Decision-making: Research skills are crucial for making informed decisions. In any workplace, there are always decisions to be made, and having the ability to research and analyze information can help you make more informed choices.
  2. Problem-solving: Research skills are also important for problem-solving. When faced with a problem, it is essential to be able to gather and analyze information to come up with the best possible solution.
  3. Innovation: Research skills can also lead to innovation in the workplace. By researching new ideas and technologies, you can help your organization stay ahead of the competition and be more innovative.
  4. Credibility: In many industries, credibility is crucial. Research skills can help you establish credibility by demonstrating your ability to gather and analyze information accurately and effectively.
  5. Continuous learning: Research skills are also important for continuous learning. In today’s fast-paced work environment, it is essential to keep up with new developments in your industry, and research skills can help you do that.

As you can see, research skills are an essential part of many jobs and can help you make better decisions, solve problems, innovate, establish credibility, and keep up with new developments in your industry. You can and should showcase your research skills on your resume, and you should take as many opportunities as possible to practice these skills.

An article from the employment website GlassDoor.com notes several important skillsets we’ve already learned about that are important to successful research in the workplace. These skills include:

  • Time Management: From meeting deadlines to decision making to managing stress, time management skills will help you to manage projects and tasks that require research.
  • Critical Thinking: Being open to new ideas and having the ability to evaluate them will make you a more effective workplace researcher.
  • Problem Solving: The ability to be an active listener and to communicate effectively will help you to use research to solve problems in your workplace.

This video goes over some ways to refine your Google searches so that you can get better results:

Knowledge Check

When you are researching something related to your career, what are some red flags you may find with sources? How do you know if a source is credible and reliable? Investigate the kinds of research you might need to do as part of your future career. You might be able to find this information from a Google search, descriptions from online job postings, or a conversation with someone in that field. Spend some time and try to get a solid idea of the kinds of topics you might need to research and what research tools you might use. Make notes of the information from the article and the results of your research.

Now that we’ve thought about research skills more broadly, let’s consider some specific ways research can be used in a variety of fields. If you’re not sure what you plan to study yet, look through all the options to see if one of them speaks to you.

Research in STEM

STEM researchers study a wide range of topics that fall under the categories of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Some of the areas of study include:

  1. Biology: researchers in this field study living organisms, including cells, genetics, and ecosystems.
  2. Chemistry: researchers in this field study the composition, properties, and reactions of matter.
  3. Physics: researchers in this field study the properties and behavior of matter and energy.
  4. Mathematics: researchers in this field study abstract concepts such as numbers, quantity, and structure.
  5. Engineering: researchers in this field apply scientific and mathematical principles to design and build new products, systems, and structures.
  6. Computer Science: researchers in this field study computation, algorithms, programming, and artificial intelligence.
  7. Environmental Science: researchers in this field study the natural environment, including its ecosystems, biodiversity, and sustainability.
  8. Materials Science: researchers in this field study the properties and behavior of materials, including metals, polymers, and ceramics.
  9. Astronomy: researchers in this field study celestial objects, including planets, stars, and galaxies.

Some websites that may help you with your STEM research include:

Research in Social Sciences

Social scientists study a wide range of phenomena related to human behavior and social interactions. Some of the main areas of study within social sciences include:

  1. Sociology: the study of human society, social structures, and social interactions.
  2. Psychology: the scientific study of behavior and mental processes, including perception, cognition, emotion, and motivation.
  3. Education: the study of how people learn and how to improve the teaching process.
  4. Anthropology: the study of human cultures, societies, and behavior across time and space.
  5. Economics: the study of how individuals, organizations, and societies allocate resources and make decisions about production, consumption, and distribution.
  6. Political science: the study of politics, government, and political behavior at local, national, and international levels.
  7. Geography: the study of the relationships between people and their physical and social environments.

Social scientists use a range of research methods and tools to study these phenomena, including surveys, experiments, observations, and statistical analysis of data. They may also use interdisciplinary approaches that combine multiple fields of study to gain a more comprehensive understanding of complex social phenomena. Ultimately, social scientists aim to generate new knowledge and insights that can inform policies, practices, and interventions that improve people’s lives and well-being.

Some websites that may help you with your social science research include:

Medical Research

Medical researchers investigate a wide range of subjects related to human health and disease. Some of the most common subjects investigated by medical researchers include:

  1. Basic science research: This includes research on the fundamental aspects of human biology and physiology, such as genetics, molecular biology, and cellular biology.
  2. Clinical research: This involves studying the effectiveness and safety of medical treatments and interventions, as well as the development of new diagnostic tools and therapies.
  3. Epidemiology: This field focuses on studying the distribution, determinants, and patterns of health and disease in populations.
  4. Health services research: This involves investigating the organization, delivery, and financing of healthcare systems, with the goal of improving healthcare quality and reducing costs.
  5. Behavioral and social sciences: These fields focus on understanding the psychological, social, and cultural factors that influence health behaviors and outcomes.
  6. Public health: This involves studying the health of populations and the prevention of disease through public health policies and interventions.

Overall, medical research covers a broad range of subjects, and the field is constantly evolving as new technologies and approaches are developed.

Some websites that may help you with your health sciences/medical research include:

Business Research

Researchers in business investigate a wide range of topics related to various aspects of the business world. Some examples of the areas that business researchers might focus on include:

  1. Marketing: Researchers might study consumer behavior, market trends, advertising strategies, and brand management.
  2. Management: Researchers might investigate topics such as leadership, organizational behavior, human resource management, and operations management.
  3. Finance: Researchers might explore topics such as financial markets, investment strategies, and corporate finance.
  4. Entrepreneurship: Researchers might study topics related to starting and growing new businesses, such as innovation, business models, and venture capital.
  5. International business: Researchers might investigate topics related to global markets, international trade, and cross-cultural management.
  6. Information systems: Researchers might explore topics related to the design, development, and management of information systems and technologies in businesses.
  7. Corporate social responsibility: Researchers might investigate topics related to sustainability, ethical business practices, and corporate social responsibility.

Overall, the field of business research is broad and interdisciplinary, and researchers may draw on theories and methods from economics, psychology, sociology, and other fields to investigate a wide range of topics.

Some websites that may help you with your business research include:

In the next chapter, we will learn more about research questions and how to come up with important questions that you want to answer.

This chapter was developed with assistance from ChatGPT Version 3.5. I used ChatGPT to develop preliminary outlines and to suggest definitions, which I then checked and enhanced. I accessed ChatGPT on April 20-23, 2023 to assist with content creation for this chapter. For more information about the specific chats, please see “Notes on ChatGPT, Research, and Academic Integrity”



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