Truth be told research has become an integral part of our lives. And here, I am referring not only to “oh my god, what did I do to deserve this” formal definition of research but also to less academic, more prosaic and by no means less conceptual manifestation of research. For instance, what do we do when we want to know why friendship is important or which yoghurt is more healthy? We search the internet, ask everyone around, read reviews, compare and analyse the information. In other words, we conduct research.
More often than not, we do not consider research to be a powerful tool until we get a closer look at it. I am not an exception. Once I got familiar with the term during my undergraduate studies, scientific-research and methodology courses captivated my interest the most, because not only they provide valuable insights into language learning and teaching practices, but because it is interesting to seek further clarifications when confronted by complex issues. However, that is just a tip of the iceberg comparing to what the research is capable of doing in practice or academically speaking “in the field”. It contributes to our knowledge and understanding of theoretical concepts, different cultures, human behavior, educational processes; it enables governments and societies to solve problems on a various levels; and most importantly, it allows us to hear the voices of vulnerable, oppressed or silenced populations, thus making change in the world we live.
As for my personal experience, I am at the stage of tasting what research process is really like. Although there are many scary words as literature review, methodology and data collection, having heard some of the rural teachers’ stories and being a part of an international project on inclusive education motivate me to become a researcher even if the chance to make a difference is not guaranteed.