Improving Life' as a North Star for Research
Teresa H. Langness
This paper evaluates the impact of research centered on enhancing the quality of life. It presents examples of research in which the essential question, pivoting around altruistic possibilities, set in motion long-term outcomes that extended beyond the life of the project. The examples listed occur across the disciplines, in engineering, science, social science, social action research, education, and communications technologies. The human processes that redounded to human progress pointed to the concept that research may matter most when it sustains life, improves the quality of life or otherwise enhances the cohesion and destiny of humans and other species, and that continually holding this as an ideal has the potential to shape the researcher, the research field, and human progress itself. Findings include the long-term outcomes accrued during and beyond the lifetime of the researchers involved. Conclusions are reinforced by transdisciplinary trends inaugurated as the result of research.