There is a very close relationship between research and social change. The society is currently faced with a number of problems that need applicable solutions. For an appropriate solution to any social problem to be implemented, changes in knowledge, policy, and practice must occur, and this is where research comes in. According to Pettit (2010), research plays a very important role in social change because through comprehensive investigations, the society as a well as the national government can come up with an alternative approach on how changes in knowledge, policy and practice can be implemented.
Rhode (2007) adds that research helps to transform understandings of social problems and inspires the society and the national government to make efforts towards social reform. For instance, sexual harassment is a common social problem in the society today. This explains why majority of social researchers now direct their attention on sexual harassment. Modern researchers have made gender inequality the center of their investigations. As a result, the society as well as the national government has come up with meaningful responses that are aimed at eliminating sexual harassment from the society. It is because of extensive research on social problems that governments are able to change the content and contexts of social policy debates (Rhode, 2007).
Since research is a very important initiator of social reforms, one can conclude that the researcher is an agent of positive social change. As Pettit (2010) explains, through their findings, researchers play the role of convincing others to direct their attention and resources towards a particular social problem. For policymakers to make final decisions on whether or not to make changes to existing policies, they must rely on data that has been collected and properly analyzed by the researcher. In the present society, the challenges faced are highly complex, some of which may seem to lack solutions. The researcher enables policymakers to come up with innovative responses which contribute to social change. Furthermore, the researcher takes dynamics of power and reality into account to ensure that they come up with powerful knowledge that can effect a social change (Pettit, 2010).
Personally, I believe that I can be a very good agent of positive social change by becoming a successful researcher and a graduate student. In my plan towards becoming a successful researcher and a graduate student, I plan to begin by developing my area of expertise. This will be followed by taking my time reading books, journals, and research papers that are related to my area of expertise. In addition, I will work individually and in groups in order to understand how to approach a given social problem. During this time, I will engage in activities such as attending seminars, participating in group discussions, and receiving feedback from group members. This will give me an opportunity to clarity the main points of my research and to obtain opinions from others. After clarifying the main points in my research, I will find a social problem worthy of my attention. This will be followed by developing a research proposal before moving to the field to conduct the actual research. This will be followed by publishing my research findings and convincing the society and policymakers to implement actions that will lead to social change (Watt, 2007).