Research is important to understanding and aiding a society in motion; a society which questions itself and through extensive research various social phenomena can be analysed and made better. All appropriate and accurate research can be transformed to be a force for good for society as a whole.
The Importance of Research
The main objective of the use of this research is to create knowledge that can be used to have a positive impact on society. Research in this context is a study of social situations or problems, with the objective to broaden the public knowledge with the results of the research. Thus, research can sometimes be seen as something that is ‘nice to know’ instead of an actively beneficial process, and so with this common preconception, there is a distinct lack of public concern when it comes to discovering how we can do better for ourselves and the world. Without this concern, societies will fail and will not advance. Research allows us to expand the knowledge of people in a concrete and precise manner, thus opening up possibilities of all kinds. This process allows for better human evolution as it allows us to develop it and progress through the acquired knowledge.
Research is crucial as it allows us to understand a subject or problem in a profound way and will yield the necessary solutions to solve the problems raised in society. With the passing of time, research has evolved in conjunction with society, but despite the great advances, we cannot solve every problem, which is one of the main purposes of research.
This type of research is sometimes called Transformation Research, the results of which greatly contribute to and is responsible for the material, cultural and social development of societies across the world. It also responds to the needs of society, influences it and solves problems, which have a positive impact on global development.
A Force for Good in Everyday Life
One of the ways that the NHS uses research for good is within campaigns to identify and change public behaviour; encouraging people to lead a healthy and safe life by informing them about health-related issues. One well-known example is the Change 4 Life campaign. Through research the NHS recognised that obesity was fast becoming a problem and sought to change that with their social marketing campaigns which were comprised of TV adverts and other digital marketing resources promoting healthy eating and more exercise for the nation.
Campaigns like these typically produce positive changes or prevent negative changes in health-related behaviours in large populations, and they have long been a tool for promoting public health so they can have a large effect on health knowledge, beliefs and attitudes, which can have a great impact on public health given the broad reach of the media.
Other examples of this on a global scale can be seen in: cancer detection and prevention campaigns; evaluation of research on strategies to promote breastfeeding in developing countries; strategies to limit tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug use; and the promotion of nutrition, activity and the prevention of heart disease.
The perception of the consumer is determinant in all research projects, and local governments are using this knowledge to their advantage. Customer knowledge is a continuous program that evolves with changes in the needs of citizens and customers, the political priorities of a council and the landscape of local, regional and national policies. It should be integrated into the day-to-day mechanisms for performance management, decision making and commitment. Understanding the interactions of an individual client with the advice, a ‘single view of the client’, is fundamental to configure a single source of ‘clean’ data in a client. This can be used to develop a reliable customer analysis.
An Unexpected Force for Good
Here, it would be interesting to consider the Government’s larger scale research on Pensions. While this may not be the ‘force for good’ that people expect, research actually helps the Department for Work and Pensions in its development and effective implementation of policies, processes, services and communications and is used to understand, develop, implement, monitor and evaluate our policies and services.
The Government’s goal as stated in their ‘Areas of Research Interest’ is to raise awareness and understanding amongst the external research community of DWP’s research priorities, and encourage and facilitate closer working between DWP and external experts within the areas of research interest. The ambition is for increased engagement and collaboration between the Government and external research communities. This will enhance DWP’s capability and capacity to answer complex and important questions by allowing DWP to draw on a wider range of UK and international expertise and evidence; through this they can exploit more diverse and innovative research methods, which can generate different perspectives and insights and therefore help provide more complete answers to particular research questions. This research will also help build and develop DWP’s own internal capability to generate world class analyses through knowledge transfer, using the results of this future research for the betterment of the UK population.
Research in Charities and NGOs
Research plays a fundamental and very important role in our society, because it is based and governed by obtaining the accurate, concise and current information on the chosen topic. For example: poverty is one of the biggest problems in our society. Charities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) face two major challenges in terms of market research, which are budgetary constraints and the understanding of perceptions on the part of a mass-sensitive public. Charities are using market research to grow their business. The research conducted within charities has opened the way to raise funds and awareness about humanitarian problems. The public perception and awareness research of the charity can help to control any problems that arise and be proactive in the solutions that are implemented.
This research promotes conversations to discuss new ideas and challenges, with different perspectives to advance discovery, influence policies and increase public confidence in research. It is available as a service to help any company make better, more informed decisions. To transform research into a force that benefits society, we must continue working to improve research. Society is increasingly aware of the importance of this, and is committed to promoting the impulse and social recognition of research.
The original version of this article appeared on the FlexMR Insight Blog and can be accessed here.