The Role of Research in Academe

During the Global Forum 2015, there was a plenary session that pointed out the disconnect between researchers who don’t teach and teachers who don’t do research. Research faculty are separated from academic faculty. Many programs attempt to marry research industry and academic institutions through research grants. Still the question is left unanswered: what is the role of research in academe?

One website says “the purpose of research is to inform action” and main problem is the “slow translation of research into practice“.  Here again it is mentioned that there is a disconnect between those who create the evidence base (the researchers) and those who are positioned to implement the research findings (teachers).
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I teach research to first year medical students.  Many of my students find the class difficult, with so many steps to go through; but since it’s a requirement, they plod on.  I also supervise the research projects of my residents in obstetrics and gynecology.  You would think that since they went through research in medical school, they’d fair better.  In reality, if medical students find research difficult, imagine that residents have fourfold difficulty juggling clinical patient care with cudgels of research work.  One resident complained “why are we required to do research? Why not limit it to those who actually like research?“.  The main advantage of actually conducting research is knowing the actual process and understanding how to interpret data globally available and to translate it into policy and practice.  Hence, we are left with the question:  How do we bridge the disconnect between teachers who don’t do research and researchers who don’t teach?

Republic Act 10532, an act institutionalizing the Philippine National Health Research System (PNHRS), aims to improve the quality of life of every Filipino through health research and development activities.  Medical schools are mandated to prepare research agendas to which students align their research projects.  Areas for research are identified in the National Unified Health Research Agenda (NUHRA), Regional Unified Health Research Agenda (RUHRA) and the National Higher Education Research Agenda (NHERA).  One challenge is the rigorous process of technical and ethical reviews of research protocols prior to actual implementation to ensure that health research adheres to universal ethical principles.  Another challenge for researchers is how to tap funding for research. Medical schools offer grants to encourage faculty to do research. The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) accepts research proposals for funding.  Aside from this, how do we help researchers tap funding for research?

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Teachers on twitter.  Pezaro (2015) shares that a small but growing group of teachers flock to social media to share their resources, experiences and ideas. Because formal research is hard and technical, teachers seek what they need through networks, and events, instead.  Social media is a platform where formal research may be shared and presented and translated into simpler more easily understandable language.  Still, there needs to be those people who will create the evidence base, people who will translate the evidence for consumption, and people who are positioned to implement the findings.  Data is there on social media, then researchers need to be able to organize this data into formal research for publication.  However, how do we ensure that research based on data from social media adheres to universal ethical principles?  What ethical issues arise when doing research on social media platforms?

Join us as we discuss views on the role of Research in Academe on #HealthXPH tweetchat tonight (April 16, 2016) at 9PM MLA:

T1.  How do we bridge the disconnect between teachers who don’t do research and researchers who don’t teach?

T2.  How can we tap funding opportunities for research?

T3. What ethical issues arise when doing research on social media platforms?