Academic research can be intense, stimulating, and rewarding. But it is important to know that a research career involves many activities besides research. Scientists spend their time writing applications for funding to do research, as well as writing scientific papers to report the findings of their research.
Academics, sometimes called scholars, pursue advanced degrees like a Ph.D. and often study the same topic for their entire lives. For example, a chemist might be studying to discover the cure for cancer. This chemist’s academic studies would include reading, laboratory research, and research in the field, experiments, collecting data and finally, writing up all of that information to share their discovery with the world.
If the chemist’s research was done as part of Ph.D. studies, they would write their findings up as a dissertation and submit that to their university. Sometimes a dissertation is the length of a long paper. But it can also be as long as an entire book. After the scholars submit their writing, they will have to present it in front of professors and defend their findings.
Academic writing beyond the Ph.D. is similar. But instead of having to submit it to a dissertation committee, academics submit their work to peer-reviewed journals or to conference organizers. Peer review is important in academic studies as a way for scientists and scholars to share information and to check the validity of each other’s work before sharing it with the wider world.