The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods provides perspectives on topics relevant to research in the field of business and management
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Journal Issue
Volume 17 Issue 2 / Jun 2019  pp55‑66

Editor: Paul Griffiths

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Reflections on Being a Successful Academic Researcher  pp55‑66

Shaun Pather, Dan Remenyi

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Research is central to the life of the career academic. However, the framework in which academic research is conducted is not generally well understood and neither is it often articulated or discussed. The literature tends to rather focus on issues in relation to specific research methodologies and the evaluation thereof. Additionally, previous research argues that it is common for university academics to have little or no formal preparation for their role as teachers. This paper posits that the same applies to that of the academic’s role as a researcher. It cannot be assumed that the mere obtaining of a Doctoral degree, prepares the novice academic for a research career. Early career academics are expected to acquire an understanding of how to survive as a researcher through a process more related to osmosis than to the principles of academic discourse. This paper commences with an overview of the origins of the academic career and the doctoral degree. Thereafter, it introspects the requirements to be a successful academic researcher. Aspects of the academic researcher’s agency in relation to personal values, characteristics, integrity, research uptake skills, as well as the benefits and challenges of a research career are explored. By unpacking the salient elements of what is required to be a successful academic researcher, this paper provides a basis for those who are considering a career in academe to make an assessment if such a pursuit is feasible. In addition, the paper provides a yardstick by which early or even mid‑career academic researchers may judge their progress towards being a successful researcher, thereby identifying areas for improvement. 


Keywords: Researcher, PhD, Academic, Career, Success, Challenges, Research uptake, Research quality


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