Does Asking Pertinent Non-Academic Questions Make You a Better Researcher?: The Link between Non-Academic and Research Questions
María Antonia Padilla Vargas
Universidad de Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Marina L. González-Torres
Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World
Answering the question of which criteria is best to identify a good researcher is highly complex owing to the broad range of factors involved in the scientific practice. Some criteria are institutional, while others may be specific to a scientific community or even personal. On the one hand, some may argue that being capable of publishing autonomously (or at least independently of advisers) and of posing novel, useful, viable, and pertinent research questions is the main criteria by which a researcher should be judged. On the other hand, because publications may result in financial benefits to the author, they are not a good criterion to assess the academic value of a researcher. We do know however that academic training has not received sufficient attention by psychologists. Investigation on this topic has been conducted mainly by sociologists and educators, using ethnographic and descriptive methodologies. Psychological studies are scarce, fragmented and unconnected.
Given the importance of producing and spreading knowledge, of conducting novel research, and of training novice researchers to replace retiring academics (in Mexico, at least, the average active scientist is roughly 47 years old), it becomes important to analyze at least one element that might make a good researcher: posing novel, pertinent questions derived from a specific line of research. While in the process of analyzing this topic, the relationship between the ability to pose research questions and the skills involved in posing non-academic questions became apparent, and received a more in-depth analysis. We tried to sum up the results of these investigations and their conclusions in this book. (Imprint: Nova)