Science is the system of acquiring knowledge through observation and experimentation. It also refers to the knowledge so acquired and research is one the ways to acquire this knowledge through systematic investigation. So, broadly speaking, a research scientist is one involved in the pursuit of new knowledge through investigation and application of existing knowledge. Science has two broad areas – life sciences and social sciences – and scientists in both areas differ a lot in what they pursue and what methods they use.
Research in Life Sciences
Unlike other scientists who are involved in application of their science to a particular goal, research scientists are involved in collating data and analyzing that data to get better understanding of a specific area of their field. They undertake experiments, collect & analyze data and compare it to other data available in their field. For example, an X-ray scientist would be involved in maintenance and improvements in the X-ray machine where as one in research would focus more on patient data and how it can be used to improve machine performance. Isaac Newton and Marie Curie are just two of the biggest names in this field, in our times.
Research in Social Sciences
The main task of these people is to support the management team in the implementation of a project especially in the initial stages. They use their expertise in the management sciences as well as research and analysis, to create prototypes, to test their viability and to initiate their application. Businesses depend heavily on them to bring out new product, to start new projects and to undertake new partnerships.
Both these scientists are involved in different areas and pursue different methods, but they are essentially experts in their fields. Their projects change over time as they complete targets or resolve issues. The work they do has far reaching impact on the application of life and social sciences for people, businesses and society as a whole.
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