Researcher, Scholar? Tomato, Tomato?

I wanted to get some feedback from the readers of the blog (and other places) on what the distinction is between a researcher and a scholar.  My first thought is that a researcher conducts research, but a scholar is one who conducts scholarship.  Sadly, that may not be so simple a distinction.   The “quick and dirty” place for such answers is, of course,  There we find:



1. diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications,etc.: recent research in medicine.

2. a particular instance or piece of research.



1. learning; knowledge acquired by study; the academic attainments of a scholar.

Upon further clickage, a scholar is defined as

“a learned or erudite person, especially one who has profoundknowledge of a particular subject.”

Interestingly, there is no such distinction in definitions for Researcher vs Research.

If we look at what defines the two is the distinction one more of the approach used?  Is it that a “researcher” follows a “systematic approach”  to gathering new information–a methodology, if you will, while a scholar may not follow such a rigorously defined structure?  It that is the case, I would as that you answer a few questions:  researcher of scholar?


2 thoughts on “Researcher, Scholar? Tomato, Tomato?

  1. We could create distinctions between the two but I think they might well be artificial and forced. If I had to make a distinction, they would overlap such that a scholar is one who does research AND produces it for public consumption/discourse/peer review. A researcher is someone who does research that may or may not be publicly shared. (I.e., researchers produce for military or corporate use.)

    In short: A scholar must do research in order to produce their scholarship. A researcher will do research, but may not produce scholarship.

  2. Based upon the definitions, I can, as a scholar, just read others’ research. Not much in the way of independent thought required based upon the definition. Learning need not be based upon new research, etc..

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