Academic research can be, or at least should be, of greater value than non-academic research because the level of skills and knowledge that academics possess. A non-academic might be an expert in a certain field, for example substance misuse, having gained personal experience of it, but lack the emotional literacy to communicate those experiences. An academic, however, should have the research skills to extract what a non-academic communicates and draw informed conclusions from this. Ultimately, non-academics are vital to the research process, as they are the subject, but expertise requires a developed set of skills which have to be learnt and developed over time.
Good quality research should be impartial, which non-academic expertise cannot be, as it is formed by the individuals subjective experiences. Furthermore, researchers will make ethical considerations when formulating their studies, in a way that non-academics may not.