Can you justify your research?

I’m a big fan of not letting politics get involved in what people research (as mentioned in this post). But, the current set up for funding for most research in Canada involves government related organizations, like the National Research Council (even if they’re suppose to be not directly influenced by politics).

However, as much as I think that scientists and academics should be choosing what research paths to head down, I do think you need to be able to justify what your researching. And by that, I think you should be at least able to answer the following set of questions regarding your research:

  • What is the motivation behind your research?
  • Why are you taking the path your taking? Research rarely has one possible path you can follow, so why did you choose the one you did?
  • Who will your research benefit? (This doesn’t have to be something big and noble, like a health crisis. For example, my research will directly benefit the video game community and possibly some other areas.)
If you can’t answer the above questions, I think it’s time to take a closer look at what your doing and why. And I’m not saying that the only research done should be to solve health or global problems. My research doesn’t fall into either of those categories. But I can answer all of those questions.
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