Friday, February 10, 2006

Research - What does it actually mean.

A very basic question, what is research? Off hand research is search for solutions to problems that have still not been solved and sometimes even finding problems to solve. No rules to abide by. No formalism to live with. Thats what I too used to think when I was an undergraduate, not that much has changed though in post graduate life, but there are subtle differences.

'Anything that works' is research is not true anymore, well it is but not enough to grant someone given a 'Dr.' epithet. It all developed during my last three meeting with my graduate advisior. The first of these three meetings I went in sad, but came out more jovial. The second time I met him to discuss research, I had gone in happy but came out gloomy. And today was the third of the enounters which finally went as it should have been. I went in in good spirits and came out with the same. The reason: the first time I did not have good results to show, but he pointed out the good theoritical base I was using for those. The second time I had results, but he showed the shaking grounds they were on. Today, I had some results and they were backed by theory :-). So research, atleast for a degree, is not 'Anything that Works' its 'Anything that works, and has a theoritical base to support it.'

I once read an article that discussed how language was a reflection of a socitey. And it gave an example. It said there is no word in English that captures the feeling of the common Hindi word - 'Jugad' (and I still have not got any common or even esoteric english word for it, it means to do what every is minimal to get things working). It probably does caputures a cultural difference between Americal and India. I think I was doing that till now - result oriented thought process, to tweak some cranks and make the machine work. But I always enjoy 'Jugad'. It gives me a peculiar kind of happiness to make things work with mininal input. In real life situation one probably has to have that skill. Anyways now research has a new dimension to it, atleast if I want 'The Paper' that will prove that I can do research :-). Lets see how well I fare in this 'Non Jugadu' research :-)

(btw the article also said that there is no hindi word that caputres the essence of - 'Maintenance' - well I will give it to the guy cus I really dont seem to find that good a word in Hindi. There is 'Dekh bhaal', or may be 'Marammatt' but to me it really does not give the same feel as 'to maintain something' - though I must admit that I not great at vocabulary. )

1 Comments:

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anirudh said...

Baapoo Awesome!!
Regds
Syal

 

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