Why Is Research Crucial for Young Cambodians?

Sat Sokvisal is currently an undergraduate student at the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL) and the Royal University of Law and Economics

Research is perceived as one of the most complicated and difficult subjects for many university students. However, Sat Sokvisal, an undergraduate student at the Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL) and the Royal University of Law and Economics, shares his perspectives on why he likes research and why he is keen on developing the field.  



Thien Phearin: As a university student, why do you think research is important?



Sat Sokvisal: Of course, research is really important for me as a student. First, I think it is complementary to other courses at university. For instance, at the IFL’s Department of International Studies at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, most of the courses require students to write research papers to fulfil the course requirements and research skills become the foundation for this task. Second, it serves as a tool for me to answer any question that I encounter in class. Although the process does not include the formal written form, I still touch on the main components of research such as reviewing the literature, using my method while collecting and analyzing data to answer a question. Hence, I think it really matters.



Thien Phearin: Despite its importance, research has been regarded as one of the most difficult subjects by many students due to its complex process. But you have an interest and a passion for research. How did this happen?



Sat Sokvisal: There are two main reasons here. First, it gives me the critical judgement on certain issues in which I am interested. For me, reading news articles usually gives me only a few angles of perspectives, which requires me to conduct a more systematic investigation-like research to gain more insights into the issues before I ascertain whether it is right or wrong. Second, I think research can make me more innovative because I have more opportunities to develop an original idea. The thing is that, when we conduct a research, we need to read many scholarly publications, design our own methodology, collect and analyze data using our own methods, making it possible that our new way to examine the issue will lead to finding something new. So, I can be both critical and innovative when I conduct a research.



Thien Phearin: Can you share with us some experiences and challenges in research?



Sat Sokvisal: Based on my experience, research is time-consuming and requires a high commitment. The reason is that you need to spend a lot of time reading scholarly publications such as journal articles or books, which sometimes is hard because the topic is narrow and complicated. You also need to justify your methodology and collect the data, which is somehow hard to find. Since it requires a great deal of time, a high commitment to research is needed to get things done. Regarding the time that I spend on a research, it is hard to determine because it depends on the complexity of the issues and the availability of the data.



Thien Phearin: What benefits do you think you can gain from research?



Sat Sokvisal: For me, the main benefit from research is the pursuit of scientific knowledge on any issue and in any area in which I am interested. I think that, without scientific research, we only conform to conventional wisdom, which is believed by most people. But just because most people believe something to be so, it doesn’t mean that it is right unless there is a scientific investigation through research to prove it. Hence, with research skills, I can guarantee that my view is at least justifiable. Moreover, I also consider research as a soft skill for my future career because I think that anywhere I work will require research skills to a certain extent.



Thien Phearin: Based on your perspective, do you think Cambodia should boost the research sector? And why?



Sat Sokvisal: I think it is more important than ever for Cambodia to enhance our research capacity. The first reason is that a better research capacity paves the way for more research-based policies and practices in Cambodia, which is essential for national development especially during these uncertain times. To some extent, any policy or practice from the government should be based on input from scientific research, which tends to be valid and reliable while also less biased toward any group. As for the second reason, I think that research can make Cambodia more innovative because research promotes scholarly debate, which can generate new ideas and solutions to respond to any issue, either social, economic or political. Hence, promoting research should be a priority for Cambodia.



Thien Phearin: Do you have any message to encourage other students to embrace research? 



Sat Sokvisal: Although research requires much time and commitment, I want them to look at the bright side of this course. First, research is important for both education and career. As I have mentioned, it is the foundation for written assignment and thesis writing at university, while also applicable in the workplace to answer any questions we encounter. Second, research equips us with a critical judgement on any issue and especially the controversies being debated in society so that we are not falling into the trap of any people’s points of view. Hence, I think that research as a subject is worth studying.


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