The relationship between research and practice has been beautifully captured by Gummerson (2000). He says, “Backed by bits and pieces of theory, the practitioner contributes to a domain, whereas the scholar contributes to theory supported by fragments of practice.” The critical point which he tries to make is that the scholars are able to contribute with the support of events or occurrences in practice; the practitioner is able to implement bits and pieces of scholarly theories.
The role researchers play:
- The researchers actually act as staff managers whose main goal is to provide expert advice to the practitioners to meet their goals. Researchers do often appreciate the differences between the in vitro environment and the actual world and hence it is crucial for the practitioners to appreciate their efforts towards research and the end results. Practitioners are most definitely the line managers who put concepts and theories as derived by researchers into practice. For this reason, a feedback from the practitioners is also vital for researchers to filter into areas of further study.
- Also, it is not always the case that researchers are only confined to the laboratory world but they are often practitioners themselves. In this case researchers are able to pin point the specific needs of the research problem and which design of research methodology would suit the best.
- Researchers recognize that workshops and operating trainings are not the only factors in transferring research to practice. Correct research and practice requires more than just training and workshops in practical scenarios to ensure that the benefits of the research end results actually gets integrated in practice.
The kind of value researchers are able to add to their respective nations is immense wherever the researchers were able to anticipate the application of their research; in other words, the value added is very high when the research had the right (set) of objectives leading it.
However, sometimes it is believed that the researchers dwell in their own world, disconnected from reality. Hence identifying the (right) research problem or research topic is one of the key aspects in the entire research process as encapsulated below.
To correctly identify the Research Problem or question, one must follow the few basic steps:
- Research Proposal writing
- Research Design
- Data Collection Design
- Sampling Design
- Instrument Development
- Pilot Testing
- Resource Allocation & Budget Approvals
- Data Collection & Preparation
- Data Analysis & Interpretation
- Research Reporting or Publication
Very importantly, after research is completed, if the reporting is not correct and comprehensive, then all the efforts can be a waste. In the process of publishing or reporting a research, one first needs to finalize on the research paper outline and them move on to the techniques to be used.
Reframing it, we can easily conclude that the contributions of researchers and practitioners are complementary. Research and practice are actually two sides of the same coin and must go hand in hand.