chapter  2
13 Pages

What is research?

This book is about research as a phenomenon in higher education. It is a huge topic. Academic research is a key element of higher education. Research is central to university life and to the lives of thousands of people employed in institutions of higher learning. Indeed some would say that it defines higher education. But it is also hugely influential in society. It is intimately tied up with a country’s prestige, its wealth, its history and its destiny. It is important in the everyday lives of millions who are affected by its achievements. It crosses national

and international boundaries. Research can be highly controversial, intensely fascinating, inordinately frustrating and sternly demanding. It can stretch even the most intellectually able and can make or break careers or lives. The results of research can move mountains or can lie hidden in dust-ridden obscurity.