Research is perceived in various ways, but fundamentally, its main objective is to uncover the truth and discern the underlying causes of phenomena. In ancient times, knowledge acquisition relied heavily on trial and error. During the feudal era, religion took precedence, with churches often becoming hubs of profound knowledge. Noteworthy figures like Gregor Mendel, who formulated the laws of inheritance through his experiments with pea plants, and other intellectuals like Robert Thomas Malthus and the educationist Ivan Illich, had affiliations with the church, though they were not strictly from the feudal period. Furthermore, mercantilism spurred research as trade necessitated improvements in sea voyages.

Definition of Research

What exactly is research? While there is no unanimous definition, there is a general consensus that research is a deliberate and systematic endeavor to explore the unknown. The research process involves several steps, beginning with the selection of a problem or topic for investigation. Based on preliminary or existing information, researchers formulate a hypothesis or proposed explanation for the problem. Subsequently, information is gathered, and explanations or causes are sought. If the cause(s) is identified, it adds to the body of knowledge. However, most research endeavors do not yield definitive explanations.

A failed research attempt does not signify the end of the research journey. Each unsuccessful effort is a step towards uncovering the truth, providing valuable guidance for subsequent researchers. Research can be categorized into natural sciences, social sciences, and professional fields like market research or medical studies.

Research gained prominence with the onset of international trade. Early research endeavors faced staunch opposition from the church and, by extension, the state. Trade disrupted prevailing beliefs, leading to conflicts such as the persecution of Galileo and others who posited that the Earth was round or that humans had evolved rather than being created by God. However, trade persisted, prompting people to seek new trade routes, which also involved research. Many perished in the quest for alternative routes to India, especially after navigating around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa.

Motivation for Research

Many of today’s known facts were previously unknown. Research aims to identify causes and establish cause-and-effect relationships behind phenomena, thereby generating knowledge. So, why do people engage in research? Motivations include curiosity, necessity, and coercion. Necessity is often the primary driver. For example, the rapid global spread of Covid-19 prompted swift research efforts, resulting in the development of vaccines by global institutions.

Curiosity also fuels research. Some individuals were so curious about the taste of cyanide, despite its lethality, that they tasted it and documented their experiences. Another example is Henry Morton Stanley’s exploration of Central Africa, leading to its subsequent colonization by Belgium. Columbus’s curiosity about circumnavigating the globe from west to east paved the way for Europe’s colonization of America.

Coercion can also drive research. Historically, rulers compelled scientists to develop weapons, and it’s a well-known fact that computers initially emerged as weaponry during World War II.

Research: A Dive into the Unknown

Research is an attempt to explore the unknown. Modern conveniences like smartphones and handheld computers are the fruits of research. Some research endeavors, such as the search for the causes of the common cold or cancer, have not yet yielded definitive results despite extensive efforts.


Research is the lifeblood of the modern world. Systematic efforts are being made to understand various phenomena, from the alternation of day and night to changes in entertainment modes with the introduction of new gadgets. While research has greatly benefited humanity, there are still mysteries to unravel. Notably, the phenomenon of remote sensing, where individuals feel observed and subsequently look back, remains unexplained.

In essence, research is akin to searching in the dark. Many research projects fail to produce tangible results, but these failures are stepping stones towards success. The increase in research endeavors, even those motivated by market demands, underscores the continuous quest for knowledge, making research a leap into the unknown

Anonymous Changed status to publish March 24, 2024