As researchers the highest priority is, we need to be real researchers. That does not mean the Wikipedia definition in which,
A researcher is somebody who performs research, independently as a principal investigator, the search for knowledge or in general any systematic investigation to establish facts. Researchers can work in academic, industrial, government, or private institutions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Researcher
Being a researcher does not mean just dedicating yourself to a subject and finding evidence of the existence of Bigfoot.
As a researcher there is a need for academic skills. It is important to produce good quality written work in the form of research papers. These are composed to reflect the argument and supporting evidence so they are clearly understood by the intended audience. Some audiences will be the casual reader where others may be more academic or specialized such as primatologists or anthropologists. A good researcher recognizes information sources that support their opinions and assertions. They also gather, organize, and analyze information or data as well as document their research in detail.
The definition we should meet is as academic researchers. We do not have to be college educated, but it does help. In order to fulfill the role of researcher we should develop skills in recognizing and framing key problems. A researcher needs to think both critically and analytically. In addition they must devise thoughtful, interesting and original insights. Though it is difficult to have original insights concerning unknown animals or creatures it is still possible. Some suppositions must be made based upon experience reported with other animal species.
Researchers need ambition and the ability to work toward higher standards than the next guy. In addition to taking initiative and responsibility, they must have organized, set procedures for handling evidence and be balanced in their judgment to make sure they understand the evidence they are reviewing. Researchers must also take constructive criticism and use it in a responsible and responsive way to help support or strengthen their case.
Effective researchers collaborate and liaise with other researchers and academics from other institutions, such as universities or even other research groups. All of this is necessary to integrate the subject to a larger community of scholars and research organizations. Researchers cannot always shun the next person or group who studies the same subject. That is what conferences are for.
Having defined the researcher's role how do we meet these goals? In the field of Sasquatch research there are very few who meet these criteria. Those that meet the requirements are already in academia. Many fail at consistently understanding the supposed evidence and underestimate the importance of handling and documenting the evidence. Because there are no rules then they should not have to follow any or should make them up right? Not so. It is time to stop calling ourselves researchers if we cannot fit the bill.
Please check back on this blog. This is the first in a series of posts concerning the academic acceptance of Bigfoot/Sasquatch research.