Knowledge creation and its dissemination are the essential elements of a university’s existence. Research is the vehicle for knowledge creation, and the publication of research results is the basis for dissemination. Dissemination of research results is also a key part of what university faculty do when they teach as these results become the substance of what is taught to students.
University faculty engage in research to address questions that society and business need answers to in order to be successful. Often these questions are broad, involve social issues and involve skill sets not necessarily found in business organizations. Through university research, society benefits as the kinds of questions asked are often not the kinds of questions businesses are willing or able to engage in. Moreover, university research is independent and unbiased – something that typically is not possible when the research is done by business employed researchers. University researchers explore important questions that simply would go unaddressed if universities did not exist. The independence of university research is a critical societal function. Indeed, this knowledge creation function is the sine qua non of university being.
Students who study at a research university such as LSU reap the benefits of this research by having professors who are knowledgeable of the state of the research in respective fields and who use research findings in the classroom. For example, an Information Systems (IS) professor will know the latest developments in IS research, the needs of businesses and trends in technologies. Students also benefit because major businesses typically recruit primarily from research universities. Society benefits as it receives unbiased answers to questions, through the research of academics who are generally considered the most knowledgeable individuals in a particular domain.