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17 research quotes to inspire and amuse you

Being a researcher requires dedication, hard work and more than a little inspiration. Here’s something to boost the last item on that list.

We’ve sourced some of the most interesting and thought-provoking research quotes we can find. We hope they’ll leave you feeling inspired and motivated to start – or complete – your best ever research project.

As these quotes show, research is a common thread running through all kinds of professions and pursuits, from Ancient Rome right up to the present day. If you practice research, you’re part of a long list of people throughout history, all dedicated to finding new knowledge and ideas that ultimately make the world a better place.

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1. “No research without action, no action without research”

- Kurt Lewin

Lewin (1890-1947) was a German-American social psychologist. He’s known for his theory that human behavior is a function of our psychological environment.

2. “Research is seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.”

- Albert Szent-Györgyi 

Szent-Györgyi (1893-1986)  was a Hungarian pharmacologist known for his work on vitamins and oxidation. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937.

3. "Bad news sells papers. It also sells market research."

- Byron Sharp 

Sharp is Professor of Marketing Science and Director of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute, the world’s largest centre for research into marketing.

4. "In fact, the world needs more nerds."

- Ben Bernanke

Bernanke is an American economist and former chair of the board of governors at the United Stares Federal Reserve.

5. "Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing."

- Wernher von Braun

Von Braun (1912-1977) was a German-American physicist and rocket engineer whose team launched the first US satellite into space.

6. "Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."

- Zora Neale Hurston

Hurston (1891-1960) was an American anthropologist and writer known for her research and writing on slavery, race, folklore and the African-American experience.

7. "Research is creating new knowledge."

- Neil Armstrong

Armstrong (1930-2012) was an American astronaut famed for being the first man to walk on the Moon.

8. "I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts."

- Bill Gates

Gates needs little introduction – he’s an entrepreneur, philanthropist and the founder of Microsoft.

9. “The best research you can do is talk to people”

- Terry Pratchett

Pratchett is an award-winning British science fiction and fantasy author. He was knighted in 2009. He is known for The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the Discworld series.

10. “Research means that you don’t know, but are willing to find out”

- Charles F. Kettering

Kettering (1876-1958) was an American engineer, known for inventing the electric starter used in combustion engines, as well as other automobile technologies.

11. “Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life.”

- Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius (121-180) was a Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher.

12. “It is a good thing for a research scientist to discard a pet hypothesis every day before breakfast.“

- Konrad Lorenz

Lorenz (1903-1989) was an Austrian biologist known for his game-changing research on animal behavior. He was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1973.

13. “Research is something that everyone can do, and everyone ought to do. It is simply collecting information and thinking systematically about it.”

- Raewyn Connell

Connell is an Australian sociologist. She is a former professor of at the University of Sydney and is known for her work on gender and transgender studies.

14. “As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it.”

- Antoine de Saint Exupery

De Saint Exupery (1900-1944) was a French aviator, author and poet, best known for his story The Little Prince, one of the best-selling books of all time.

15. “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”

- Arthur Conan Doyle (writing as Sherlock Holmes)

Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was a British crime writer and creator of the legendary Sherlock Holmes, master of deduction.

16. “If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

- Albert Einstein

Maybe the most famous scientist of all time, Albert Einstein (1879-1955) was a German physicist who came up with the theory of relativity. However, it was his description of the photoelectric effect, the interplay between light and electrically charged atoms, that won him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.

17. “The power of statistics and the clean lines of quantitative research appealed to me, but I fell in love with the richness and depth of qualitative research.”

- Brené Brown

Brown is a researcher and storyteller studying courage, shame, empathy and vulnerability. She is a best-selling author and inspirational speaker. She is a research professor at the University of Houston.

Free eBook: The new era of market research is about intelligence