Validate your research

One of the modules of my advanced research and communication course, is about evaluating other people's research. It's really important to check how research has been carried out if you're going to use the results for your own purpose, whether that's for use in an assignment, or to help you make a real life business decision. In yesterday's Financial Times, there was a very good article written by John Kay relating to this. He comments that a great deal of market research today is carried out with the sole intention of promoting an organization's profile, rather than to genuinely add to our knowledge of the research topic.

As I say in class, you should question how the research was carried out in addition to understanding the purpose and the background of the researcher. It's not enough to rely on the fact that a researcher is an academic, or a regular contributor to official studies. You must validate the research as far as possible for yourself.