“The goals in industry are not those of academia, and this means that corporate research needs different things to be successful. Yes, research should be trustworthy and accurate, but in industry this needs to be balanced with timeliness and actionability. An accurate result is worthless if no one knows how to use it, or if no one bothers to read it because they’re struggling to interpret your F-values.”
One of the biggest leaps when moving from academic research to industry research is understanding that the practice of doing research in both worlds is drastically different. They have different goals, values, media and cultural standards that researchers must be aware of if they want to be effective and valued. The following article from Llewyn Paine does a great job of distilling the key differences and makes suggestions for how to be an effective researcher in the business world without feeling like you’re violating the ethics and values of your disciplinary training.
Product team asks a question. Researcher does a study and hands off a long-form academic-style report, but it’s hard to read and there are no clear arguments for what action to take. The team ignores the report and goes with their gut, and the researcher is frustrated that the team isn’t addressing the top issues from the study.
Later, a colleague suggests that the researcher should change up his reporting style and try to “sell” the results more. The researcher demurs, saying that researchers have a responsibility to adhere to certain standards for reporting data. The cycle repeats.
Maybe you recognize this scenario. Maybe you’ve been the team member with a report you couldn’t use. Or maybe you’ve been the researcher, delivering meticulous reports that never seem to land right at your company. If so, you’re not alone — this scenario crops up over and over again, especially for conscientious researchers who have recently made the transition…
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