No one knows how scientific research is done. We don’t really use the scientific method you learned in 7th grade science (if you learned it at all…). You think a topic is interesting/problematic/could cure cancer/is generally cool, you do a literature search to see if other people have had the same thoughts and then you design an experiment/model/equation/computer program to test it out. Next comes some stabbing around in the dark, formulation of ideas, writing of papers, peer review, and general discussion of the topic in your field. It’s a messy and highly iterative process that most people don’t ever get to experience.
People’s eyes glaze over when my peers and I talk about what we do because we’re mired in the details of scientific enterprise, but without people like us, the overly-educated “elites” who do science, the 21st Century way of life would be just a dream. And if you don’t like us and think we’re a bunch of commies trying to trample on “real America,” I’d like your cellphone and everything you own with Velcro back, because those were our ideas that you obviously don’t appreciate.
It’s worth reading the whole thing.