Strategies for Promoting Research Culture to Support Knowledge Society

Strategies for Promoting Research Culture to Support Knowledge Society

Neeta Baporikar (HP-GSB, National University of Science and Technology, Namibia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTHD.2015100104
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Research is deemed to be of more value when it rightly augments the economic development processes. Research is all the most important in today's era as the society today is knowledge grounded. Research especially in business area and any other social sciences cannot be merely conjectural – there is greater need to understand and include the practical aspects. In particular, there are a number of new and exciting digital technologies, which offer researchers considerable advantages in terms of speed, access connectivity and economy. Through in depth literature review and contextual analysis, the aim of this paper is to aid institutions and scholars in recognizing the gains of adapting inclusive approach, suggesting strategies for promoting research culture to support knowledge society so that the world of academia continues to excel in its role of knowledge creation, knowledge transfer and knowledge dissemination.
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The word “research” evolved from the French word recherché, meaning “to examine something thoroughly.” Educational research includes experimental and quasi-experimental research, as well as qualitative, descriptive, and correlation studies. Scientifically based research involves systematic methods that draw on careful observation or experimentation to make valid, credible, reliable, and trustworthy conclusions. Research is a vital part of the social tapestry of a modern state as it exhibits diversity of motivation and purpose. It can be an open-ended enquiry into the essence of phenomena, of who we are, individually and collectively, and of the world we inhabit. Research is imperative as it is a way of responding to societal priorities, enables derived knowledge, it is a means of preserving, fabricating and resynthesizing existing knowledge and/for creating new knowledge, it purports and aids in building a knowledge society and it is a vital pillar of higher education.

What is more, the world has become increasingly complex through the immediacy of modern communication, where hitherto separated heterodox traditions have been brought into confusing proximity and confronted with the skepticism of science and the disruptive pressures of new technologies promoted through globalized markets. In this context, research and education, in the humanities and social sciences as well as in the natural sciences, are vital if societies are to understand and come to terms with these complex issues. Research is also of great importance to higher education and teaching community. It can improve their practice by reflecting on personal experiences and listening to advice from experts. Research determines what strategies to keep and what to avoid. Research avoids errors in judgment based on personal experience. More important research connects to the real world apart from making teaching-learning process more effective. The organization of a national research base is important to proceed in the right direction. The term “research base” is conventionally used to describe the publicly funded component of national research in universities and research institutes. The ability of a research base to deliver excellence depends upon how the individual nations are able to mash the essentials ingredients of research culture given in Figure 1. The better these ingredients are the greater the promotion of research culture and greater the research output.

Figure 1.

Essential research culture ingredients


Thus, through in-depth literature review, contextual analysis with deep observation as a part the higher education process/system, the papers aims to address the questions: what is the role of higher educational institutions, how to create research culture and what should be the strategies for promoting a research culture to support knowledge society.


Literature Review

In very broad terms, a research strategy at the institutional level could be defined as ‘a plan defining the main institutional goals to be achieved in research by an institution as a whole, as well as the measures to reach them’. In principle, a strategy is stated in an official document, approved by some institutional authority. But, in a broader sense a strategy can also exist in a less formal way, where some elements are more or less implicitly accepted in the institutions. In general the idea of an institutional strategy (not only for research, but for the general development of the institution, is part of what is usually called the managerial revolution in higher education, emphasizing the need of a more coherent and purposeful development and of some central steering also in higher education institutions (OECD 2005; Amaral et al. 2003). On the other hand, the term “research culture” is widely referred to, especially in relation to the “new universities,” polytechnics and professions in transition from a non-research environment into one that demands research activity. However, the term “research culture” remains ambiguous. Do we mean an organisational culture in which research plays a significant role? Do we mean “the way we do research round here?” Or do we mean a culture of the type found in a petri dish – an environment in which research grows and multiplies? Using a seminal work by Schein (1991)as the foundation, this paper examines “research culture” in the same way that we examine “organisational culture” - a notion widely studied and written about. The author finds this approach to be enlightening and capable of providing deeper understanding of research culture.

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