Saturday, 10 November 2012

Where do I find IDEAS for my research proposal?

Heya folks,

To be perfectly honest, there is no easy answer to this question. More experienced researchers have told me they get ideas from their work (experience) as the years goes by and they know intuitively what they would like to study and what is commercially viable. What about the novices ...?

1. Start off by reading

As a professor once said ... there is NEVER too much research. Keep research and reading. Don't stop. There is always something new to stimulate you or something done previously to help guide your initial work.

You may wish to start by reading some articles from Peer Reviewed Journals online. Just google and you can find plenty. After which you might want to dwell further into specific topics by going directly to the website of these Journals (More updates soon!) or search using some tools such as SciFinder and Web of Knowledge that are likely to be offered by your school library or subscribed by your company.

From the reading exercise, have a FEEL of the current status of research in your field of interest. You definitely do not want to perform duplicate work. And try to SPOT research that interests you. That is the topic or type of work you might want to consider focusing upon.

2. Communicate

Talking to peers and seniors who have experience will help you. They may offer advice and opinions on the research route you intend to take or provide some insights on the workings of a reaction if they have done similar work. This will save you LOTS of time and may be even more effective than readings. Sometimes its like striking Jackpot. Really. I would recommend doing this after you've done some fundamental readings so that you have enough base knowledge to initiate a meaningful conversation. But ... try to get to this step as soon as possible.

3. Don't procrastinate!

Seriously, don't! Steps 1 and 2 takes time and there's no guarantee that doing both once will work. Some people take iterations! No matter how intuitive or 'common sense' these pointers sound, they are necessary. Underestimating the importance of preparing solid research proposals is just plainly not worth it. Start early!

Going through these steps have worked for me in general. Computers unfortunately cannot substitute for good and hard work, and I will venture a guess that they are unlikely to be able to do so in the near future...

Well fortunately for us, that the reason why scientists and researches have a Job!

signing off~
JohnHD

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