Doctors do research to look for cures for illnesses. Engineers do research to see if they could come up with safer designs for buildings. Teachers also need to do research to look for ways to enhance learning. But what about something more specific like language teachers? What are they researching for?
Over the past years, local universities are so crazy about doing researches, not realising that in the social science field, it is tough to come up with research that is niche. Social science people are unlike those in the pure science and engineering field where there are too many things to discover and too many new inventions that could be made. Why do universities keep pushing their staff to do research when sometimes there's hardly anything to research on? Why can't these academicians do what they do best - impart knowledge, which should be paramount, rather than unwillingly dwell into research? Yes, research does contribute to acquisition of new knowledge, but can everyone do research? And if an academic staff doesn't do research, does that mean they're inadequate, inefficient and less knowledgeable, therefore do not deserve good annual appraisals or salary increments?
I'm not against doing research, but making research compulsory for all staff in order to fulfill a university's Key Performance Indicators (KPI), is not a good way to encourage research, for the focus will be on meeting the KPI rather than the purpose, outcome and value of the research to the institution, community or nation. Could the research culture be forced into unwilling researchers this way? I've done a research when I did my masters' (still at it), and I can tell you that it is not easy, and not everyone is cut out to be a researcher. I find it tough to analyze results and to synthesize articles that I read for my research, and that's why it is taking me so long to complete my thesis, if I ever complete it.
Anyone who aspires to be a researcher - even an amateur one - firstly needs to love reading, and have interest in an area of research. Then he also needs to have an analytical mind or else it would be very difficult to synthesize articles, use the correct instruments, report findings and make recommendations. Forcing anyone to do a research would possibly lead to plagiarism, and result in half-baked efforts.
So, what would you want to research on? How would you go about it?