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RESEARCH METHODOLOGY范文-怎么写RESEARCH METHODOLOGY?

论文价格: 免费 时间:2012-03-31 11:54:22 来源:www.ukassignment.org 作者:留学作业网

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
S. Rajasekar
School of Physics, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli – 620 024, Tamilnadu, India
P. Philominathan
Department of Physics, Sri AVVM Pushpam College,
Poondi, Thanjavur – 613 503, Tamilnadu, India
V. Chinnathambi
Department of Physics, AKGS Arts College, Srivaikundam – 628 619, Tamilnadu, India
In this manuscript various components of research are listed and briefly discussed. The topicsconsidered in this write-up cover a part of the research methodology paper of Master of Philosophy(M.Phil.) course and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) course. The manuscript is intended for studentsand research scholars of science subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, statistics, biologyand computer science. Various stages of research are discussed in detail. Special care has been takento motivate the young researchers to take up challenging problems. Ten assignment works are given.For the benefit of young researchers a short interview with three eminent scientists is included atthe end of the manuscript.
I. WHAT IS RESEARCH?
Research is a logical and systematic search for newand useful information on a particular topic. It is aninvestigation of finding solutions to scientific and socialproblems through objective and systematic analysis. Itis a search for knowledge, that is, a discovery of hiddentruths. Here knowledge means information about matters.
The information might be collected from differentsources like experience, human beings, books, journals,nature, etc. A research can lead to new contributions to
the existing knowledge. Only through research is it possibleto make progress in a field. Research is done with the
help of study, experiment, observation, analysis, comparisonand reasoning. Research is in fact ubiquitous. Forexample, we know that cigarette smoking is injurious to
health; heroine is addictive; cow dung is a useful sourceof biogas; malaria is due to the virus protozoan plasmodium;
AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) isdue to the virus HIV (Human Immuno deficiency Virus).How did we know all these? We became aware of allthese information only through research. More precisely,it seeks predictions of events and explanations, relationshipsand theories for them.
A. What are the Objectives of
Research?
The prime objectives of research are
(1) to discover new facts
(2) to verify and test important facts
Electronic address: rajasekar@physics.bdu.ac.in
(3) to analyse an event or process or phenomenon to
identify the cause and effect relationship
(4) to develop new scientific tools, concepts and theories
to solve and understand scientific and nonscientific
problems
(5) to find solutions to scientific, nonscientific and social
problems and
(6) to overcome or solve the problems occurring in our
every day life.
B. What Makes People do Research?
This is a fundamentally important question. No person
would like to do research unless there are some motivating
factors. Some of the motivations are the following:
(1) to get a research degree (Doctor of Philosophy
(Ph.D.)) along with its benefits like better employment,
promotion, increment in salary, etc.
(2) to get a research degree and then to get a teaching
position in a college or university or become a
scientist in a research institution
(3) to get a research position in countries like U.S.A.,
Canada, Germany, England, Japan, Australia, etc.
and settle there
(4) to solve the unsolved and challenging problems
(5) to get joy of doing some creative work
(6) to acquire respectability
(7) to get recognition
(8) curiosity to find out the unknown facts of an event
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(9) curiosity to find new things
(10) to serve the society by solving social problems.
Some students undertake research without any aim possibly
because of not being able to think of anything else
to do. Such students can also become good researchers
by motivating themselves toward a respectable goal.
In the words of Prof.P.Balaram [Current Science,
87(2004)1319] Ph.D. degree is a passport to a research career.
The Ph.D. period often influence a research scholar
to make or to break in a scientific career.
C. Importance of Research
Research is important both in scientific and nonscientific
fields. In our life new problems, events, phenomena
and processes occur every day. Practically implementable
solutions and suggestions are required for tackling
new problems that arise. Scientists have to undertake
research on them and find their causes, solutions,
explanations and applications. Precisely, research assists
us to understand nature and natural phenomena.
Some important avenues for research are:
(1) A research problem refers to a difficulty which a researcher
or a scientific community or an industry or
a government organization or a society experiences.
It may be a theoretical or a practical situation. It
calls for a thorough understanding and possible solution.
(2) Research on existing theories and concepts help us
identify the range and applications of them.
(3) It is the fountain of knowledge and provide guidelines
for solving problems.
(4) Research provides basis for many government policies.
For example, research on the needs and desires
of the people and on the availability of revenues to
meet the needs helps a government to prepare a
budget.
(5) It is important in industry and business for higher
gain and productivity and to improve the quality
of products.
(6) Mathematical and logical research on business and
industry optimizes the problems in them.
(7) It leads to the identification and characterization
of new materials, new living things, new stars, etc.
(8) Only through research can inventions be made; for
example, new and novel phenomena and processes
such as superconductivity and cloning have been
discovered only through research.
(9) Social research helps find answers to social problems.
They explain social phenomena and seek solution
to social problems.
(10) Research leads to a new style of life and makes it
delightful and glorious .
Emphasizing the importance of research Louis Pasteur
said “I beseech you to take interest in these sacred domains
called laboratories. Ask that there be more and
that they be adorned for these are the temples of the
future, wealth and well-being. It is here that humanity
will learn to read progress and individual harmony
in the works of nature, while humanity’s own works are
all too often those of babarism, fanaticism and destruction.”
(Louis Paster – article by S.Mahanti, Dream 2047,
p.29–34 (May 2003)).
In order to know what it means to do research one may
read scientific autobiographies like Richard Feynmann’s
“Surely you are joking, Mr.Feynmann!”, Jim Watson’s
“The double helix”, “Science as a way of life – A biography
of C.N.R. Rao” by Mohan Sundararajan, etc.
II. RESEARCH METHODS AND RESEARCH
METHODOLOGY
Is there any difference between research methods and
research methodology?
Research methods are the various procedures,
schemes, algorithms, etc. used in research. All the
methods used by a researcher during a research study
are termed as research methods. They are essentially
planned, scientific and value-neutral. They include
theoretical procedures, experimental studies, numerical
schemes, statistical approaches, etc. Research methods
help us collect samples, data and find a solution to a
problem. Particularly, scientific research methods call
for explanations based on collected facts, measurements
and observations and not on reasoning alone. They accept
only those explanations which can be verified by
experiments.
Research methodology is a systematic way to solve
a problem. It is a science of studying how research is
to be carried out. Essentially, the procedures by which
researchers go about their work of describing, explaining
and predicting phenomena are called research methodology.
It is also defined as the study of methods by which
knowledge is gained. Its aim is to give the work plan of
research.
A. Importance of Research Methodology
3
in Research Study
It is necessary for a researcher to design a methodology
for the problem chosen. One should note that even
if the method considered in two problems are same the
methodology may be different. It is important for the researcher
to know not only the researchmethods necessary
for the research under taken but also the methodology.
For example, a researcher not only needs to know how to
calculate mean, variance and distribution function for a
set of data, how to find a solution of a physical system
described by mathematical model, how to determine the
roots of algebraic equations and how to apply a particular
method but also need to know (i) which is a suitable
method for the chosen problem?, (ii) what is the order
of accuracy of the result of a method?, (iii) what is the
efficiency of the method? and so on. Consideration of
these aspects constitute a research methodology.
To understand the difference between research methods
and methodology let us consider the problem of finding
the roots of the quadratic equation#p#分页标题#e#
ax2 + bx + c = 0. (1)
The formulas often used for calculating the roots of eq.(1)
are
x+ = −b + pb2 − 4ac
2a
, (2)
x− = −b − pb2 − 4ac
2a · (3)
These formulas are, however, p inaccurate when |b|  b2 − 4ac. The equivalent formulas are
x+ = −2c
b + pb2 − 4ac
, (4)
x− = −2c
b − pb2 − 4ac
. (5)
When |b|  pb2 − 4ac one must proceed with caution to
avoid loss of precision. If b > 0, then x+ should be computed
with the formula given by eq.(2) and x− should be
computed with the formula given by eq.(3). If b < 0 then
x+ should be evaluated using eq.(4) and x− should be
evaluated using eq.(5). Here the two formulas constitute
the method of finding roots of the equation of the form
given by eq.(1). If you use the formulas given by eqs.(4–
5) instead of the formulas given by eqs.(2–3) (often used
and familiar to us) to compute the roots then you should
clearly explain why the formulas in eqs.(4–5) were chosen
and why the other formulas given by eqs.(2–3) were not
considered. This is what we mean by a research methodology.
That is, research methodology tells you which
method or formula or algorithm has to be used out of
the various existing methods or formulas or algorithms.
More precisely, research methods help us get a solution
to a problem. On the other hand, research methodology
is concerned with the explanation of the following:
(1) Why is a particular research study undertaken?
(2) How did one formulate a research problem?
(3) What types of data were collected?
(4) What particular method has been used?
(5) Why was a particular technique of analysis of data
used?
The study of research methods gives training to apply
them to a problem. The study of research methodology
provides us the necessary training in choosing methods,
materials, scientific tools and training in techniques relevant
for the problem chosen.
Assignment:
(1) List out at least 10 methods which you have learned
in your UG and PG courses and write their purpose
or application.
(2) Distinguish between research methods and research
techniques.
(3) Distinguish between research methods and research
methodology with an example of your own choice.
III. TYPES OF RESEARCH
Research is broadly classified into two main classes:
1. Fundamental or basic research
2. Applied research
A. Basic Research
Basic research is an investigation on basic principles
and reasons for occurrence of a particular event or process
or phenomenon. It is also called theoretical research.
Study or investigation of some natural phenomenon or relating
to pure science are termed as basic research. Basic
researches some times may not lead to immediate use or
application. It is not concerned with solving any practical
problems of immediate interest. But it is original
or basic in character. It provides a systematic and deep
insight into a problem and facilitates extraction of scientific
and logical explanation and conclusion on it. It helps
build new frontiers of knowledge. The outcomes of basic
research form the basis for many applied research. Researchers
working on applied research have to make use
of the outcomes of basic research and explore the utility
of them.
Research on improving a theory or a method is also
referred as fundamental research. For example, suppose
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a theory is applicable to a system provided the system
satisfies certain specific conditions. Modifying the theory
to apply it to a general situation is a basic research.
Attempts to find answers to the following questions actually
form basic research. Why are materials like that?
What they are? How does a crystal melt? Why is sound
produced when water is heated? Why do we feel difficult
when walking on seashore? Why are birds arrange them
in ‘>’ shape when flying in a group?
Fundamental research leads to a new theory or a new
property of matter or even the existence of a new matter,
the knowledge of which has not been known or reported
earlier. For example, fundamental research on
(1) astronomy may lead to identification of new planets
or stars in our galaxy,
(2) elementary particles results in identification of new
particles,
(3) complex functions may leads to new patterns or
new properties associated with them,
(4) differential equations results in new types of solutions
or new properties of solutions not known so
far.
(5) chemical reactions leads to development of new
compounds, new properties of chemicals, mechanism
of chemicals reactions, etc.
(6) medicinal chemistry leads to an understanding of
physiological action of various chemicals and drugs.
(7) structure, contents and functioning of various parts
of human body helps us identify the basis for certain
diseases.
B. Applied Research
In an applied research one solves certain problems employing
well known and accepted theories and principles.
Most of the experimental research, case studies and interdisciplinary
research are essentially applied research. Applied
research is helpful for basic research. A research,
the outcome of which has immediate application is also
termed as applied research. Such a research is of practical
use to current activity. For example, research on
social problems have immediate use. Applied research is
concerned with actual life research such as research on
increasing efficiency of a machine, increasing gain factor
of production of a material, pollution control, preparing
vaccination for a disease, etc. Obviously, they have immediate
potential applications.
Some of the differences between basic and applied research
are summarized in table 1.1. Thus, the central
aim of applied research is to find a solution for a practical
problem which warrants solution for immediate use,
whereas basic research is directed towards finding information
that has broad base of applications and thus add
new information to the already existing scientific knowledge.
C. Quantitative and Qualitative
Methods
The basic and applied researches can be quantitative or
qualitative or even both. Quantitative research is based
on the measurement of quantity or amount. Here a process
is expressed or described in terms of one or more
quantities. Qualitative research is concerned with qualitative
phenomenon involving quality. It is non-numerical,
descriptive, applies reasoning and uses words. Its aim is
to get the meaning, feeling and describe the situation.
We measure and weigh things in the study of substance
or structure. Can we measure or weigh patterns? We
cannot measure or weigh patterns. But to study patterns
we must map a configuration of relationships. That
is, structures involve quantities whereas patterns involve
qualities. If one wishes to investigate why certain data
are random then it is a qualitative research. If the aim
is to study how random the data is, what is the mean,
variance and distribution function then it becomes quantitative.
Explaining how digestion of food takes place in
our body is a qualitative description. It does not involve
any numbers or data and quantities.
The detection of a particular compound is a qualitative
analysis. This can be done by carrying out physical or
chemical tests. Determination of exact amount of a par-
TABLE I: Differences between basic and applied researches.
Basic research Applied research
Seeks generalization Studies individual or specific
cases without the objective to
generalize
Aims at basic processes Aims at any variable which
makes the desired difference
Attempts to explain why
things happen
Tries to say how things can be
changed
Tries to get all the facts Tries to correct the facts
which are problematic
Reports in technical language
of the topic
Reports in common language
5
ticular compound present in a volume is essentially quantitative
analysis. This can be done by volumetric, gravimetric
and calorimetric methods or instrumental methods.
Experimental and simulation studies are generally
quantitative research.
D. Other Types of Research
Other types of research include action research (fact
findings to improve the quality of action in the social
world), explanatory research (searching explanations for
events and phenomena, for example finding answer to
the question why are the things like what they are?), exploratory
research (getting more information on a topic)
and comparative research (obtaining similarities and differences
between events, methods, techniques, etc.). For
discussion on these types of research see refs.[1–3].
Assignment:
(4) List out at least 10 theoretical and applied methods
which you have learned in your UG, PG courses and
write their features in two or three sentences.
(5) Write at least 20 questions in your subject the investigation
of which forms basic research. Then
point out how many of them have already been
solved and how many were found in applications.#p#分页标题#e#
(6) Distinguish between theory and experiment.
(7) Write a note on importance of theory in basic and
applied researches.
(8) Bring out the importance of inter-disciplinary research.
IV. VARIOUS STAGES OF A RESEARCH
Whenever a scientific problem is to be solved there
are several important steps to follow. The problem must
be stated clearly, including any simplifying assumptions.
Then develop a mathematical statement of the problem.
This process may involve use of one or more mathematical
procedures. Frequently, more advanced text books
or review articles will be needed to learn about the techniques
and procedures. Next, the results have to be interpreted
to arrive at a decision. This will require experience
and an understanding of the situation in which
the problem is embedded. A general set of sequential
components of research is the following:
1. Selection of a research topic
2. Definition of a research problem
3. Literature survey and reference collection
4. Assessment of current status of the topic chosen
5. Formulation of hypotheses
6. Research design
7. Actual investigation
8. Data analysis
9. Interpretation of result
10. Report
In the following sections the above mentioned various
stages of research are discussed in detail.
V. SELECTION OF A RESEARCH TOPIC AND
PROBLEM
The starting point of a research is the selection of a
research topic and problem. Identifying a suitable topic
for work is one of the most difficult parts of a research.
Before choosing a research topic and a problem the young
researchers should keep the following points in mind.
• Topic should be suitable for research.
• The researcher should have interest in it.
• Topic should not be chosen by compulsion from
some one else.
Topic and problem can be fixed in consultation with the
research supervisor. In our country often research supervisors
suggest a topic and state a problem in broad
view. The researcher has to narrow it and define it in
operational form. One may ask: Is it necessary that the
topic of a Ph.D. should be different from M.Sc. project
and M.Phil dissertation? The answer is not necessary.
If a student is able to get a supervisor working in his
M.Sc.project or M.Phil dissertation topic then it would
save about six months in the duration of his Ph.D. work.
A. Can a Researcher Choose a Topic
by himself?
A youngster interested to start a research career wishes
to know whether he/she has freedom to do research in the
topic of his/her own interest. The style of research in our
country and various other factors like the infrastructure
facility available in a research institute, time limit, our
commitment to family and social set up hardly allow a
young researcher to choose a topic by himself for his PG
project, M.Phil. dissertation and Ph.D. thesis. However,
many research supervisors give complete freedom
to choose a problem in the topic suggested by him for a
Ph.D. research work. Because the normal time duration
of M.Phil dissertation is about 6-8 months, it is better to
work on the problem suggested by the supervisor.
6
If a student wishes to do research (for Ph.D. degree)
with fellowship then he cannot have freedom to choose a
topic since he has to work on a project the goal of which
is already defined by the project investigator. On the
other hand, after choosing a topic of his own interest he
has to find a supervisor who is working in that topic or
interested in guiding him. In this case one has severe
limitation in our country for getting a fellowship and for
registering for a research degree. If a student is not very
much particular about the fellowship he has a chance to
do research in the topic of his own interest. A researcher
in India after two years of research experience with few
(two or more) publications can apply for a senior research
fellowship (SRF) to CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial
Research) (for details see its and other relevant
web sites). He can prepare a project under the direction
of his Ph.D. supervisor which can lead to a fellowship.
For details see the book ‘How to get scholarships, Fellows
and Stipends’ by K.D.Kalaskar (Sultan Chand and
Sons, New Delhi))
Considering the above, a researcher should make-up
his mind so as to work in a topic suggested by the supervisor.
However, a research problem may be chosen by a
researcher himself. This has several advantages. In this
case
• the researcher can pursue his/her own interest to
the farthest limits,
• there is an opportunity to spend a long time on
something that is a continuous source of his pleasure
and
• the results would prove better in terms of the
growth of the investigator and the quality of the
work.
If the researcher is not interested in the topic and problem
assigned to him but is working on it because of supervisor’s
compulsion, then he will not be able to face
and overcome the obstacles which come at every stage in
research.
B. Identification of a Research Topic
and Problems
Some sources of identification of a research topic and
problems are the following:
(1) Theory of one’s own interest
(2) Daily problems
(3) Technological changes
(4) Recent trends
(5) Unexplored areas
(6) Discussion with experts and research supervisor
Suppose one is interested in the theory of nonlinear differential
equations or quasicrystals or fullerenes. Then he
can find a research guide who is working in this field or
interested to work in this field and then choose a problem
for research.
Our daily experiences and day to affairs have rich openings
on various aspects such as the daunting tasks of
AIDS, air pollution, afforestation and deforestation, child
labor, problems of aged citizens, etc.
Technology in various branches of science, business and
marketing changes rapidly. For example, in the early
years, computers were built in larger size with vacuum
tubes. Then evolution in electronic technology replaced
them by integrated circuits. Recently, scientists have developed
quantum dots. Now the interest is in developing
efficient, super-fast and miniaturized computing machine
made up of material whose particle size of the order of
nano (10−9) meter or even smaller. Similarly, another
fascinating topic namely, thin film has multiple fields of
applications. Recent research on fullerenes resulted in
many practical applications.
Choosing a topic of current interest or recent trends
provides bright and promising opportunities for young
researchers to get post-doctoral fellowship, position in
leading institutions in our nation and abroad.
In each subject there are several topics which are not
explored in detail even though the topic was considered
by scientists long time ago. For example, string theory,
quantum computing, nano particles, quantum cloning
and quantum cryptography and gene immunology are
fascinating topics and are in preliminary stages.
The supervisors and experts are working on one or few
fields over a long time and they are the specialists in the
field considered and well versed with the development
and current status of the field. Therefore, a young researcher
can make use of their expertise in knowing various
possible problems in the topic the solving of which
provide better opportunities in all aspects.
Don’t choose a topic simply because it is fascinating.
In choosing a topic one should take care of the possibility
of data collection, quantity of gain, breadth of the
topic and so on. The topic should not be too narrow.
For example, the study of social status and sexual life
of married couples of same sex (man-man marriage and
woman-woman marriage) is interesting and of social relevance.
But the intricate problem here is that we do
not find enough number of such couples to study. This
is a very narrow topic at the same time we will not get
enough data to analyze. On the other hand, the changes
in the social life of aravanis in recent times is a valuable
social problem and one can collect enough data.
7
Further, one has to study advanced level text books
and latest research articles to identify problems. Is it
necessary to know all the methods, techniques, concepts
in a research topic before identifying a problem for investigation?
This is not necessary. After learning some
fundamental concepts, recent developments and current
trends of a topic, one can identify a problem for research.
Then he can learn the tools necessary to solve it.
C. Definition and Formulation of a
Problem
After identifying a problem, in order to solve it, it has
to be defined and formulated properly. For this purpose,
one can execute the following.
• State the problem in questionnaire form or in an
equivalent form
• Specify the problem in detail and in precise terms
• List the assumptions made
• Remove the ambiguities, if any, in the statement of
the problem
• Examine the feasibility of a particular solution
Defining the problem is more important than its solution.#p#分页标题#e#
It is a crucial part of the research study and should not
be defined in hurry.
D. How do you Asses Whether the
Defined Problem as a Good Problem?
A problem in its first definition may not be appealing.
It may require redefinition in order to make it a good
problem. That is, by suitably rewording or reformulating
the chosen problem, it can be made to meet the criteria
of a good problem. This is also important to solve the
problem successfully. To this end a researcher can ask a
series of questions on the problem. Some are:
(1) Is the problem really interesting to him and to the
scientific community?
(2) Is the problem significant to the present status of
the topic?
(3) Is there sufficient supervision/guidance?
(4) Can the problem be solved in the required time
frame?
(5) Are the necessary equipment, adequate library and
computational facilities, etc. available?
If the answers to these questions are satisfactory, then the
researcher can initiate work on the chosen problem. In
addition, discuss the problem with the current doctoral
students and obtain the scope of the problem and other
related aspects.
E. How are these Questions Important
and Relevant to a Researcher?
The researcher should be interested on the problem for
the reasons mentioned earlier at the end of the Sec.(VA).
The problem should also be interesting to the supervisor
so that the researcher can get the necessary guidance
from him. Otherwise sometimes the researcher may find
it very difficult to convince the supervisor on the importance
and significance of the results obtained. More
importantly, the problem must be of interest to scientific
community and society. If not then the researcher
will find great difficulty to publish his findings in reputed
journals and convince the funding agency.
Next, the status of the problem, particularly the importance
of finding its solution should match with the
current status of the field. But, if the problem investigated
is of not much interest to science and society then
publications will become useless to him in his research career.
Specifically, they cannot help earn a post-doctoral
fellowship, respectability and a permanent job in an institution.
A researcher needs proper guidance and encouragement
from the supervisor regularly. This is important
for keeping the research in right track, to overcome the
difficulties which come at various states of research and
also to have moral support. A researcher should avoid
working under the guidance of a supervisor having serious
health problems or family problems, committed his
large time to administrative work and strong involvement
in nonacademic matters.
Another important point is that before initiating research
work on a problem, a rough estimate on costs and
time required to complete the work must be made. A
problem suitable for Ph.D. degree should not be taken
for M.Phil. degree. A problem suitable for M.Phil. degree
is not appropriate for Master’s degree. If the collection
of data or resources or related information takes
many years, then the topic is obviously inappropriate for
Ph.D. degree. Controversial subjects should not be chosen.
Problems that are too narrow or too vague should
be avoided.
Finally, the researcher must make sure that the necessary
experimental setup and materials to perform the actual
research work are available in the department where
research work is to be carried out. Without these, if
the researcher initiated the work and has gone through
certain stages of work or spent one or two years in the
problem then in order to complete the task he would
be forced to buy the materials and instruments from his
personal savings.
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VI. LITERATURE SURVEY
After defining a problem, the researcher has to do literature
survey connected with the problem. Literature
survey is a collection of research publications, books and
other documents related to the defined problem. It is very
essential to know whether the defined problem has already
been solved, status of the problem, techniques that
are useful to investigate the problem and other related
details. One can survey
(1) the journals which publish abstracts of papers published
in various journals,
(2) review articles related to the topic chosen,
(3) journals which publish research articles,
(4) advanced level books on the chosen topic,
(5) proceedings of conferences, workshops, etc.,
(6) reprint/preprint collections available with the supervisor
and nearby experts working on the topic
chosen and
(7) Internet.
A free e-print service provider for physics, mathematics,
nonlinear science, computer science and biology is
http://www.arXiv.org
No research shall be complete unless we make use of
the knowledge available in books, journals and internet.
Review of the literature in the area of research is a preliminary
step before attempting to plan the study.
Literature survey helps us
(1) sharpen the problem, reformulate it or even leads
to defining other closely related problems,
(2) get proper understanding of the problem chosen,
(3) acquire proper theoretical and practical knowledge
to investigate the problem,
(4) show how the problem under study relates to the
previous research studies and
(5) know whether the proposed problem had already
been solved.
Through survey one can collect relevant information
about the problem. Clarity of ideas can be acquired
through study of literature.
Apart from literature directly connected with the problem,
the literature that is connected with similar problems
is also useful. It helps formulate the problem in a
clear-cut way. A review on past work helps us know the
outcome of those investigations where similar problems
were solved. It can help us design methodology for the
present work. We can also explore the vital links with the
various trends and phases in the chosen topic and familiarize
with characteristic precepts, concepts and interpretations.
Further, it can help us formulate a satisfactory
structure of the research proposal.
Because a Ph.D. thesis or M.Phil. dissertation is a
study in depth aiming contribution to knowledge, a careful
check should be made to ensure that the proposed
study has not previously been performed and reported.
The earlier studies which are relevant to the problem chosen
should be carefully studied. Ignorance of prior studies
may lead to a researcher duplicating a work already
carried out by another researcher. A good library will be
of great help to a researcher at this stage. One can visit
nearby research institutions and avail the library facility.
Review the latest research papers and Ph.D. theses to
acquire recent trends.
VII. REFERENCE COLLECTION
As soon as the survey of available source begins, the
preparation and collection of references preferably with
annotations should be undertaken. The important source
of reference collection is the journal called Current Contents.
This comes once in a week. It is available in hard
copy and also in floppy diskette. Almost all the universities
and institutions buy this document. It contains the
table of content of research journals and magazines in
various subjects. It provides title of articles, names of
the authors, date of publication, volume number, starting
page number of the articles and address of the author
from whom one can get the reprint of the article. If the
title of the article indicates that the paper is in the topic
of one’s interest then he can take a copy of the article if
the journal is available in the local library. Otherwise,
he can get it from a document delivery service centre.
For example, in India INFLIBNET provides this service
through six institutions. For details visit the following
web sites:
http://web.inflibnet.ac.in/index.isp
http://www.iisc.ernet.in/
http://www.jnu.ac.in/
One can obtain a research article on paying the charge
fixed by the INFLIBNET provided the particular journal
is available in it. Articles can also be purchased from the
publishers on payment. Alternatively, reprint of the article
can be had from the author by sending a letter/card
to the author. A format of reprint request card is shown
below.
9
————————————————————————-
Front Side
Place :
Date :
Dear Dr./Prof.
I would appreciate in receiving a reprint of your following
article and other related preprints/reprints, if any.
Title :
Journal name :
Volume number : Page(s) : Year :
With kind regards,
Yours sincerely,
————————————————————————-
————————————————————————-
Reverse Side
Sender’s Address
To
————————————————————————-#p#分页标题#e#
The references from current contents or from journals
can be noted on a separate card or sheet with the names
of authors and the title of the paper/book, etc. For a
research paper, its title, journal name, volume number,
starting and ending pages of it and year of publication
should be noted. For a book, publisher’s name, place
of publication and year of publication must be written
down. Instead of cards, nowadays one can store the details
of the references in computers and have a copy in
two or three floppy diskette. The references can be classified.
For example, sources dealing with theory, dealing
with experimental techniques, concerned with numerical
methods, etc. can be grouped separately. The copies of
the research articles can also be classified and bounded.
Cross references (that is research articles or books referred
or cited in a research report) should also be collected
and classified. These also provide useful information.
VIII. ASSESSING THE CURRENT STATUS
Generally, it is not difficult to know the current status
of research work in a specific topic. The current status
of the chosen topic can be identified by reading the
relevant journals and the recent papers, discussions in
conferences, seminars and workshops. One can perform
inquiries at several important places known for research
on proposed topic.
A study of the current literature in the chosen topic explores
the current status of it. More importantly, review
articles point out not only to the basic aspects and features
of the topic concerned but also give a brief account
of its present status. For this purpose, one can survey the
journals (for a topic in physics) such as Physics Reports,
Reviews ofModern Physics, Physical Review Letters, Review
section of American Journal of Physics, Pramana,
Current Science and Proceedings of recently conducted
seminars and conferences, etc.
Rapid communication and Letter sections of international
journals publish articles which are very important
and fall in recent trends category. There are several areas
in internet where the papers just submitted to journals
are placed. One can download such articles free of cost.
These articles indicate the recent trends in a particular
topic. Some relevant web sites are listed below.
http://arxiv.org/
http://www.ams.org/global-preprints/
http://front.math.ucdavis.edu/math.AG/
http://www.ma.utexas.edu/mp−arc/
http://www.clifford.org/anonftp/clf-alg/
IX. HYPOTHESIS
Researchers do not carry out work without any aim
or expectation. Research is not of doing something and
presenting what is done. Every research problem is undertaken
aiming at certain outcomes. That is, before
starting actual work such as performing an experiment
or theoretical calculation or numerical analysis, we expect
certain outcomes from the study. The expectations
form the hypothesis. Hypotheses are scientifically reasonable
predictions. They are often stated in terms of if-then
sentences in certain logical forms. A hypothesis should
provide what we expect to find in the chosen research
problem. In other words, the expected or proposed solutions
based on available data and tentative explanations
constitute the hypothesis.
Hypothesizing is done only after survey of relevant literature
and learning the present status of the field of
research. It can be formulated based on previous research
and observation. To formulate a hypothesis the
researcher should acquire enough knowledge in the topic
of research and a reasonably deep insight about the problem.
In formulating a hypothesis construct operational
definitions of variables in the research problem. Hypothesis
is due to an intelligent guess or for inspiration which
is to be tested in the research work rigorously through
appropriate methodology. Testing of hypothesis leads to
explanation of the associated phenomenon or event.
What are the criteria of a good hypothesis? An hy10
pothesis should have conceptual clarity and a theoretical
orientation. Further, it should be testable. It should
be stated in a suitable way so that it can be tested by
investigation. A hypothesis made initially may become
incorrect when the data obtained are analyzed. In this
case it has to be revised. It is important to state the
hypothesis of a research problem in a research report.
We note that if a hypothesis withstands the experiments
and provides the required facts to make it acceptable, not
only to the researchers performing the experiments but
to others doing other experiments then when sufficiently
reinforced by continual verification the hypothesis may
become a theory [4].
X. MODE OF APPROACH
Mode of approach means the manner in which research
is to be carried out. It should keep the researcher on the
right track and make him complete the planned work successfully.
One should sharpen the thinking and focus
attention on the more important aspects of the study.
The scientific thinking must be more formal, strict, empirical
and specific and more over goal oriented. In order
to make steady progress in research and to asses the
progress of the research work, a research design is very
helpful.
A. Research Design
For a scientific research one has to prepare a research
design. It should indicate the various approaches to be
used in solving the research problem, sources and information
related to the problem and, time frame and the
cost budget. Essentially, the research design creates the
foundation of the entire research work. The design will
help perform the chosen task easily and in a systematic
way. Once the research design is completed the actual
work can be initiated. The first step in the actual work is
to learn the facts pertaining to the problem. Particularly,
theoretical methods, numerical techniques, experimental
techniques and other relevant data and tools necessary
for the present study have to be collected and learnt.
It is not necessary that every theory, technique and
information in the topic of research is useful for a particular
problem. A researcher has to identify and select
materials which are useful to the present work. Further,
the validity and utility of the information gathered
should be tested before using them. Scientific research
is based on certain mathematical, numerical and experimental
methods. These sources have to be properly studied
and judged before applying them to the problem of
interest.
B. What are the Possible Approaches
to be Followed by a Researcher?
A researcher can exercise the following aspects regularly
throughout the research carrier. These will keep
him in right track and tightly bind him to the research
activity.
(1) Discussion with the supervisor, experts and colleagues
about the research work, particularly, the
problem and its origin, objectives and difficulties
faced in the execution of the problem.
(2) Reading of the latest research papers, relevant theories
and possible application to the present problem
and to overcome the difficulties faced.
(3) Review of the work reported on the similar problems.
(4) Theoretical calculations, setting-up of an experimental
setup, numerical calculations, computer
programs, preparation of graphs, tables and other
relevant work related to the research should be done
by a new researcher by himself without assistance
from others.
(5) Have a practice of periodically writing the work
done, results obtained and steps followed in a work.
This is important because sometime we may think
that a particular aspect will be a center piece of the
problem under investigation. But once we make a
write-up of it, this aspect or part of it may turn out
to be only of marginal importance. In fact, writing
of the progress of the work will help us better
understand our work and forms a solid basis for
further progress. It also points out to the gaps in
our work.
(6) Participation and presentation of research findings
in national and international meetings.
These regular practices provide useful information like
new ideas and can help the researcher
(1) sharpen and focus attention,
(2) confining to the formulation and
(3) in the interpretation of the solution obtained.
Each and every bit of task related to the research work
has to be done by the researcher. A young researcher
should not do the entire work in collaboration with others.
The researcher is advised to perform all the works
starting from identification of the problem to report
preparation by himself under the guidance of supervisor.
Particularly, collaboration work with experts and senior
researcher may be avoided. (However, he can discuss his
problems with them). This is important to acquire
(1) enough knowledge,
11
(2) confidence and
(3) training
to carry out research independently after getting Ph.D.
degree. Part of the dissertation should demonstrate the
researcher’s originality. The dissertation should reflect
the efforts of a single researcher. Keeping this in mind
one should avoid collaboration as far as possible in the
young stage.#p#分页标题#e#
Prof.Balaram wrote “There are guides who have no
interest in their discipline and leave their wards to their
own devices. Surprisingly, it is these guides who produce
some of the most resilient scientists, self-taught men and
women, who develop great confidence in their abilities”
[Current Science 87(2004)1319].
A researcher should provide new information to the
supervisor and avoid getting information from the supervisor.
He should learn and collect many information
related to his work. He should definitely avoid embarrassing
the supervisor and senior researchers by asking
doubts often. A good supervisor or a senior researcher
does not provide answers to your questions but gives appropriate
directions to clarify your doubts.
During the course of research, one should focus the
mind mainly on the research work. Don’t allow the
personal life to interfere with research. Diversions to
other activities should be avoided. Further, after working
about say three years and when the time has came
to consolidate the work done so far a researcher should
not start to work on an entirely new topic. He can complete
his thesis work and then work on new topic of his
interest. The woman Nobel Laureaute Maria Goeppert
Mayer said,“If you love science, all you really want is to
keep on working.”
A researcher must be clear in his thoughts. He should
know what he has to find out. In order to perform the
work successfully the researcher should acquire proper
training in the techniques of research. The training
equips the researcher with the requirements of the task.
Further, he should be clear about his task and possess
intellectual insight. Then only he is able to find out the
facts that would help him in his task. Make your research
a part of your every day life. Think about your research
work in background mode, ideas will come out even when
you are seeing a movie, traveling to a place, sight-seeing
and shopping. Ted Gottfried the author of biography of
Fermi said, “Scientific research is like sports. To score,
the focus of the scientist must be narrow and intense to
the exclusion of everything else around him. The batter
never takes his eye off the ball, the hoopster shuts
out everything but the court, the golfer always follows
through–and the scientist focuses his complete attention
on the task at hand and nothing else.”
A young researcher should also have persistence, tolerance
and self-control over the unpleasant outcomes such
as not getting an expected result, not recognized by the
supervisor and rejection of a research article from a journal.
“Don’t get dejected when your paper is rejected”–
Prof.P.R. Subramanian. Some times one may complete a
piece of work within a week which he might have expected
to finish it in a month time. On the other hand, at some
times one may get stuck with a particular part of the
work and unable to make a substantial progress, say, in
three months. Avoid feeling remorseful at these circumstances
and maintain a high tolerance for poor results.
Remember that failure and wasted works are also part
of the research career. Young researchers should create
good relationship with their seniors and colleagues.
C. Getting Joy in Doing Research
To get a deep insight on the topic or the research problem
a suggestion from Dr K.P.N. Murthy is that one
should enjoy doing research and approach it as an entertainment
and a mode of getting happiness. In the research
career one should treat doing research as a way of
life and not just a job. In order to achieve a goal in the
research one has to work harder. The harder one works
the happier one feels. One need not try to conquer the
world of science. One has to come in order to work and
to find his way. Initially one must work hard. Getting
insise a research topic or a research career is like a pushing
a door. It is hard to push the door open. But when
one understand it it is ver interesting and joyful.
Chandrasekhar pointed out that in the arts and literature
quality of work improves with age and experience
while in science generally it does not. He felt that it is
because of doing science in isolation, very narrow focus
on immediate goals and insufficient broad in interests and
pursuits. In order to continue research even at old age
one should develop the spirit of experiencing the beauty
of science. The spirit of experiencing it is not restricted
to only the great scientists. Chandrasekhar said, “This is
no more than the joys of creativity are restricted to a fortunate
few. They are instead accessible to each one of us
provided we are attuned to the perspective of strangeness
in the proportion and conformity of the parts of one another
and to the whole. And there is satisfaction also be
gained from harmoniously organizing the domain of the
science with order, pattern and coherence.”
Professor G.Baskaran stressed that group discussion is
indeed an important component of doing research particularly
in small and isolated institutions. He said, “One
cannot explain the power and usefulness of group discussions
– it has to be experienced. When I was a student
at the Indian Institute of Science (I.I.Sc.), Bangalore, a
few of us students of physics from I.I.Sc. and National
Aeronautic Laboratory were introduced to this joyous
12
experience by S.K.Rangarajan, formerly a Professor of
chemistry, in whose house we assembled virtually every
evening to discuss such grave issues as amorphous solids
and renormalization group. Each one of the discussants
has made a mark” (Current Science, 75(1998)pp.1262).
For a discussion on emotional factors see, for example,
ref.[5].
D. Crucial Stage of Ph.D
The crucial period for a research scholar doing full-time
Ph.D. is the last year of the programme. During this period
one should concentrate on completing the final work
for his thesis and writing of various chapters. Generally,
a research fellowship is for fixed period of time, it might
have ended before the final year of the Ph.D. programme.
We have noticed many scholars converted the full-time
programme into part-time and joined in a job. If the job
is a permanent one then one can join in the job and continue
the research. But joining in a temporary position
may highly change his research career. This would delay
the submission of his Ph.D. thesis and he may loose the
interest in research. There are examples with students
capable of getting a post doctoral fellowship but failed
to even continuing the research. Therefore, a research
scholar should have a clear plan of what he has to do in
the next few years or so. Even if the fellowship is not
available at the finishing stage of Ph.D. thesis we have
friends and our well wishers to give financial support to
some extend.
XI. ACTUAL INVESTIGATION
One should aim at doing good research. What is good
research? Which universities and research institutions in
your country do the best research? How do you distinguish
the great from a good, a black hole from an ordinary
hole, a superconductor from a normal conductor,
supernova from mere stars, poles from ordinary points,
linear differential equations from nonlinear ones?
To distinguish one from another we can use various
quantities. Like wise, to identify the best from among the
available, one can use various quantities to measure the
quality of them. For example, to identify a best research
the quality of the one’s research publications, number of
citations of his publications, projects completed, books
published, contribution made to the science and society,
etc. can be considered.
Research work
(1) published in reputed international journals,
(2) cited by other researchers working in the same or
similar topic and
(3) which added new information to the existing knowledge
on a topic
are generally considered as good.
At the beginning of research career a young researcher
should aim to produce a good research, particularly, his
research findings should distinguish him from other researchers
and keep him one among the top young researchers
in the nation. In order to encourage young
researchers and motivate them to produce high quality
of research work awards are given yearly by certain academic
and research bodies in each country. For example,
in India, Indian President Award, Indian National
Science Academy (INSA) Young Scientist Award and
many other awards are given every year. Some Conference/
Seminar organizers also provide best papers award
to young scientists.
A. What are the Points to be Kept in
Mind in Order to do a Good Research?
Actual investigation should lead to original contribution
and not involve objectionable duplication. Originality
is the basic credit point of any research. Therefore,
actual investigation must be directed towards obtaining
novel results. A researcher should develop new ideas and
obtain deep insight into the problem in order to get novel
and new results which are the characteristics of a good
research.
Trivial analysis should not be performed. Recently introduced#p#分页标题#e#
theories, experimental techniques and numerical
algorithms have to be used instead of outdated methods.
Before applying any method, the researcher should
familiarize with the features of the method. It it not
worthwhile to continue in a particular direction if the results
are trivial and less informative. If similar problems
have already been done, for instance about ten years ago,
then a researcher should not consider it as important but
could treat it as a useful exercise.
We do research by conceiving information and openings
from important research papers published by other
researchers in the topic of interest and continue in our
own directions. The work of some other researchers
might have formed the basis of our research. Similarly,
our research outcomes should help other researchers.
That is, the work should be such that it should invite
others to read and more importantly use it and cite it in
their research work. Our work should lead to recognition
and respect. It should fetch joy and benefits others and
as well as us.
As pointed out by ProfessorM.Lakshmanan, generally,
each and every work of us may not produce novelty, but
if we work towards novelty then definitely in the course
13
of research there would come a fascinating and exciting
breakthrough.
The researcher must remember that ideally in the
course of a research study, there should be constant interaction
between initial hypothesis, observation and theoretical
concepts. It is exactly in this area of interaction
between theoretical orientation and observation that opportunities
for originality and creativity lie.
Actual work finally leads to results and conclusions of
the research undertaken. For proper results it is necessary
that various steps of the work should be scientifically
taken and should not have any flaw. Developed computer
algorithms must be tested for the problems for which results
are already available. The work should be free from
mistakes. Important analysis must be repeated in order
to make sure that they are free from human mistakes.
Professor Devanathan suggests that a researcher should
check, recheck, cross check, ... all the results before submitting
a research paper to a journal . Before beginning
to write a part of the work done and the results obtained
check and recheck the data and the results by repeating
the experiment, rerunning the programs and going
through the theoretical derivations and arguments.
When analysing the data, appropriate statistical tools
have to be employed. The number of data used, units
of the data, error bars and other necessary details must
be noted in the graphs. As many statistical tools as possible
should be used. Appropriate curve fitting can be
done. Necessary interpretations on the results of statistical
analysis have to be made.
In the case of development or modification of a theory
and proposal of a new method the assumptions made,
basic idea, and calculations should be clearly stated and
analyzed. Various special cases of the theory or method
must be identified. The validity, efficiency and applicability
of it must be demonstrated with examples. Merits
and demerits have to be identified. Comparison of the
proposed method with the already existing and widely
used similar methods should be performed.
In any experimental work, mere measurement of certain
quantities is not enough. The interpretation of the
kind of data observed and explanation for the particular
pattern must be made. On the basis of interpretation
general principles underlying the process can be formulated.
One has to check whether the generalizations are
universal and true under different conditions.
Some common errors made in research are [6]
(1) Selective observation
(2) Inaccurate observation
(3) Over-generalization
(4) Made-up information
(5) Ex post facto hypothesizing
(6) Illogical reasoning
(7) Ego involvement in understanding
(8) Premature closure of inquiry
(9) Mystification
For a very interesting discussion on the above aspects
with examples refer to the ref.[6]
XII. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION
The next step after performing the actual research
work on the chosen problem is preparation of results and
conclusion of the performed work. Predictions, results
and conclusion are ultimate goals of the research performed.
There are two indispensable rules of modern research.
The freedom of creative imagination necessarily subjected
to rigorous experimentation. In the beginning any
experimental research on a specific subject, imagination
should give wings to the thought. At the time of concluding
and interpreting the facts that were collected observation,
the imagination should be dominated and prevailed
over by concrete results of experiments.
Proper interpretations of the results must be made. Interpretation
refers to the task of drawing inferences from
the actual research work. It also means drawing of conclusion.
Conclusion is based on the study performed.
It would bring out relations and processes that underlie
the findings. The utility of the outcome of the research
greatly lie on proper interpretations and is the hardest
part of solving a scientific problem. Interpretation of results
is important because it
(1) links the present work to the previous,
(2) leads to identification of future problems,
(3) opens new avenues of intellectual adventure and
stimulates the quest for more knowledge,
(4) makes others understand the significance of the research
findings and
(5) often suggests a possible experimental verification.
The basic rule in preparing results and conclusion is to
give all the evidences relevant to the research problem
and its solution. A bare statement of the findings are not
enough. Their implications must be pointed out. Discuss
your answers to the following questions with experts:
(1) Are the supporting evidences sufficient?, and if not,
What to do?
14
(2) How many pieces of evidence are required? Instead
of producing all, is it possible to restrict to one or
two pieces of evidence? If so, what are they? and
(3) Why are they sufficient?
and so on. Such directions can help us minimize work and
the quantity of presentation of the report. Do not rely
on a bogus evidence which would increase the chances of
errors. The investigator has to give suggestions. These
should be practical and based on logic, reasoning and
fact. The suggestions should be such that they can be
actually implemented.
The researcher should not be in hurry while preparing
the results and conclusion. After preparing them the
researcher may ask the following questions:
(1) Are the quantitative and qualitative analysis performed
adequate for the conclusion drawn?
(2) Are the results and conclusion general?
(3) Are the results and conclusion valid only for the
particular situation considered in the present work?
(4) Is the conclusion too broad considering the analysis
performed?
(5) Is any evidence which weaken the conclusion omitted?
The results and conclusion prepared can be revised based
on the answers to the above questions.
Each and every statement made in the results and conclusion
sections must be based on evidence obtained from
theoretical or experimental analysis. Baseless statements
should never be made.
Assignment:
(9) For each of the following topics write at least two
questions, the answers to which must be available
in the respective topics. For example, for the topic,
“introduction”, a relevant question is ‘why am I
doing it?’.
(i) Introduction, (ii) Review of a research topic,
(iii) Methodology, (iv) Research design, (v) Results,
(vi) Discussion and (vii) Conclusion.
XIII. PRESENTING A SCIENTIFIC
SEMINAR-ORAL REPORT
A. What is an Oral Report?
What are the Importance of an Oral
Report?
Presentation of one’s research work in a scientific meeting
is an oral report . Scientific meetings include conference,
seminar, symposium, workshop, departmental
weekly seminar, etc.
Researchers in certain research institutions not only
discuss their own work but also have discussions on very
recently reported work of other scientists.
An oral report provides a bridge between the researcher
and audience and offers greater scope to the researcher
for explaining the actual work performed, its outcome
and significance. It also leads to a better understanding
of the findings and their implications. In an oral
report, the researcher can present the results and interpretations
which are not clearly understood by him and
may request the experts in the audience to give their
opinions and suggestions. Oral reporting at a conference
or a seminar requires more elaborate preparation than
the written report.
A Nobel prize winner Paul Dirac said, “A person first
gets a new idea and he wonders very much whether this
idea will be right or wrong. He is very anxious about it,
and any feature in the new idea which differs from the old
established ideas is a source of anxiety to him. Whereas
some one else who hears about this work and talks it up#p#分页标题#e#
doesn’t have this anxiety, an anxiety to preserve the correctness
of the basic idea at all costs, and without having
this anxiety he is not so disturbed by the contradiction
and is able to face up to it and see what it really means.”
B. Points to be Remembered in
Preparing an Oral Report
Before starting the preparation of an oral report, an
outline can be drawn based on the time duration of the
report and the quality of the audience. Departmental
seminar is usually 45 minutes duration. In other meetings
time duration is fixed by the organizer based on the
number of days of the meeting, number of speakers and
the status of a speaker.
For a long time report, that is, 45–60 minute presentation,
one may have enough time to
(1) introduce the topic,
(2) discuss the definition of the problem,
(3) describe the method and technique employed,
(4) give technical details, and
(5) present results and conclusion.
Consequently, these aspects can be prepared in detail.
For a 15–30 minute, oral presentation one cannot find
enough time to discuss complete details of the work.
In this case less informative material must be dropped.
Methods and techniques used can be presented very
briefly without going into technical details. Much time
should be reserved for results, conclusion and further directions.
15
Prepare a write-up of the oral presentation. It is a
good and very helpful practice to write the talk before
presenting it orally. Then evaluate the written material.
Ask:
(1) Why should the audience listen to your presentation?
(2) Is the presentation match with the standard of the
audience?
Revise the presentation until you get convincing answer
to the above two questions.
Oral presentation can be made effective and attractive
by using modern visual devises, power-points, slides and
transparency sheets. Title of the report, author’s name,
plan of the presentation, very important content of it and
conclusion can be printed in the slides or sheets possibly
point by point with bold and sufficiently large size letters.
Important formulas, equations, tables, figures and
photographs can be prepared using transparency sheets
or slides. Slides and transparency sheets should not contain
running matters. Researcher should not simply read
the content in the sheets. That is, the descriptive portion
of the report should not be prepared on the sheets.
An abstract or a short write-up of the presentation may
be circulated to the participants of the meeting. Sophisticated
softwares developed for preparing the text on
transparency sheets/slides are available in internet and
can be freely downloaded. In order to make the presentation,
more lively, the researcher could use multimedia.
Nowadays, the use of power-point of Microsoft Windows
is common. It is an easy and compact utility software especially
for preparing classroom presentations. The following
are the web sites from which one could download
the software at free of cost:
http://www.office.microsoft.com/downloads
http://www.lb.com/download-free-power-pointpresentation.
org
One could use the audio aspects also to facilitate his
presentation in a better way. While presenting the topic,
the researcher should strictly follow the class room teaching
methodology. For example, one should allow interaction;
don’t restrict the vision of the audience of a particular
section, don’t forget to modulate the voice as and
when required and don’t violate the time frame.
One or two rehearsals of the report in the presence of
colleagues, supervisor and collaborators can be exercised
in order to
(1) complete the presentation within the allotted time,
(2) improve the quality of presentation and
(3) maintain the fluency of the presentation.
During a long presentation, the speaker can stop the presentation
at various stages, seek comments and questions
from the audience and then proceed. This will make the
presentation attractive, interesting and also allow the audience
to clarify their doubts so that they can follow the
work.
XIV. ART OF WRITING A RESEARCH PAPER
AND THESIS
A. What is a Research Report?
Research reporting is an oral or a written presentation
of important and useful aspects of the research work
done. Scientific writing, a thesis or a paper, is intended
to present clearly the purpose and outcome of a specific
research investigation. It is the last but a major part
of the research study. A report helps the researcher get
feedback from other researchers and experts working in
the same field. It also evaluates the success and originality
of the researcher’s work. Without a report, a research
study is incomplete and of no use. A report essentially
conveys the outcome of a research work to interested persons.
Brilliant work and most striking findings are of
little value if they are not effectively communicated to
the scientific world. As pointed out by Eli Maor, in academic
matters the iron rule is publish or perish. Some
times delaying a publication of a result one would lose
his claim.
B. What are Research Paper or Article
and Ph.D Thesis or Dissertation?
A research paper is a report published in a journal
or magazine or conference proceedings, etc. Whereas a
Ph.D. dissertation is a report of the entire work done
by a researcher to a university or an institution for the
award of the degree of doctor of philosophy. A Ph.D.
dissertation is a lengthy, original and substantial document.
It should contain original contributions. Essentially,
the role of a Ph.D. dissertation is to demonstrate
the research person’s original thinking and contribution
to the topic of research. It should also clearly point out
the research competence of the researcher in his research
field. M.Phil. dissertation is designed as a practice for
Ph.D. thesis. It will help the researcher learn and understand
the present status of the topic and make him
capable of working at the Ph.D. level. The work done
for an M.Phil. dissertation need not be publishable in
journals.
C. Why Should a Researcher Report
his Findings?
Every research investigation is carried out with certain
objectives. The outcome of a research work may
16
add new information to a theory or may have technological
applications. Sometimes the researcher may not be
aware of the theoretical development on practical applications.
His research results may be useful to another
research problem. Some other researchers may be working
or planning to work on the same or similar type of
research work. Several researchers doing same research
work is a waste of time unless the solution of the problem
is needed very urgently and is of great use. Repetition of
a work should be avoided by the research community as
much as possible. Unless a researcher reports his work
to the world, the correctness, validity and originality of
the work is under a question mark. The outcome of a
research work will become known to the scientific community
only through publications. In view of these, it
is important to report a work in an appropriate journal
or magazine and in scientific meetings like conferences,
seminars and symposia. Identify possible publications
of your research findings after making a considerable
progress on a research problem. Don’t be confined
with a mere Ph.D. degree.
D. Characteristics of a Good Report
A good report results from slow, pain taking and accurate
inductive work. To attract a reader, the reading
matter of a report should be clear and interesting. It
should not be obscure and dull. The write-up should be
logical, clear and concise. The basic quality or characteristics
of a good scientific report/paper and thesis are
the following:
(1) good presentation
(2) good organization of various chapters/sections
(3) accuracy
(4) clarity
(5) free from contradictions and confusion.
Further, a Ph.D. dissertation should be a formal and
should have high level of scholarship.
XV. OUTLINE OF A REPORT
What are the considerations to be kept in
mind while preparing a report?
(1) First, an outline of a report has to be prepared.
(2) A sketch of what information to be conveyed must
be made.
(3) Then, one can write down various topics, subtopics
to be considered and what material to be presented
in them.
(4) The sentences which are to be expanded, reworded
and verified for its validity can be marked.
The outline of the report helps us concentrate on
(i) what is to be presented,
(ii) logical relationships between different parts of the
report,
(iii) smooth flow of the content and
(iv) continuity in the presentation.
The outline can be discussed with the guide, collaborators,
colleagues and experts in local area. Based on their
comments the structure of the report can be modified.
A three stage preparation of a report is generally done
by researchers. They are
(1) First draft – Rough draft .
(2) Second draft – Rewriting and polishing of the rough
draft .
(3) Third draft – Writing the final draft .#p#分页标题#e#
A. First Draft
In this stage a researcher can write
(1) what has been done in the research study,
(2) procedure, method, theory and technique applied,
(3) technical difficulties faced and how they are overcome,
(4) broad findings and
(5) concluding remarks.
Tables and charts can be typeset using computer and
kept separately in order to avoid rewriting them. Conclusion
should be precise, clear and objective. Further
directions may be pointed out.
Since a research paper is identified by its title it should
be brief and not more than above 10-15 words. A subject
index of a paper is primarily based on the words in
the title. Therefore, few key words which are helpful to
classify the paper can be included appropriately in the
title.
How does a reader decide whether to read the content
of a paper or not? Abstract serves the purpose. By
reading the abstract a reader would decide whether the
content of the paper is useful to him. Therefore, the
abstract should have positive information about the content
of the paper and summary of the work reported in
it. Further, if the abstract has final results and main
conclusion of the paper then a reader who has a general
interest in the subject can know the outcome of the paper
without reading the entire text by referring the abstract
itself.
17
B. Second Draft
This is the most important and difficult part of the
writing. Extreme care must be taken in writing this
draft. Unclear points, jargons, weakness of the report
have to be identified and revised. Over-generalization
of outcomes should be avoided. For example, Hermitian
operators have real eigenvalues. Generalizing it as
eigenvalues of operators are real or concluding that to
have real eigenvalues, operators should be Hermitian are
incorrect. Similarly, complex analytic functions satisfy
Cauchy–Riemann conditions. It doest not mean that
functions satisfying Cauchy–Riemann conditions should
be analytic. How do you avoid over-generalization? For
some details see, for example, ref.[5].
Attention must be paid to the arguments made, logical
flow of work presented, the quality of supporting evidences
and conclusion drawn. Do these in each chapter.
Don’t do the entire second stage at a single stretch. Give
sufficient time between revisions of two consecutive chapters.
During the break time think over the revision made
in the previous chapter or section.
More importantly, grammar must be checked. A careful
spell check must be made. Use simple words as far
as possible. Indecisive words such as perhaps, somewhat,
rather, etc. should be avoided. Usage of some particular
words repeatedly, for example, ‘very’, ‘extraordinary’,
‘invariably’ should be avoided. Expressions such as ‘it
seems’, ‘there may be’, ‘since’, ‘putting’, etc. should be
replaced by appropriate equivalent words.
Style, presentation and grammar can be improved by
asking your friends, colleagues to read and give their critical
comments, suggestions and correct English grammar.
In some universities the report is first read by an English
teacher. He corrects the grammar and give suggestions.
After this only a researcher can submit the thesis.
Complicated and lengthy sentences have to be rewritten
and broken. Similar sentences or sentences conveying
same information must be eliminated. Check whether the
words used clearly convey exactly the meaning intended.
S. Chandrasekhar said, “I always sought to present my
findings in as elegant, even literary, a form as possible. I
select some writers in order to learn. For example, I read
Henry James or Virginia Woolf, and I don’t simply read
the text as a novel; I see how they construct sentences,
how they construct paragraphs, how one paragraph goes
into another and so on.” (J. Horgan, Current Science,
67 (1994) pp.500-01).
Proper references of related work should be included.
Trivial matters and obvious conclusion should not be included
and if there are such sentences then they should
be dropped.
C. Third Draft
This is the last stage. In this stage, one can concentrate
on final touches and finishing. This should be in
the direction of making the report weighty, authoritative,
attractive and convincing. Similar words and format
should be avoided in successive sentences. Make sure
that the script clearly shows the originality of the author
and importance of the outcome of the study performed.
In all the three stages of report preparation one should
follow a proper style of writing. Use clear and unadorned
English appropriate for the readers. One has to be aware
of to whom the research report is intended. The report
is not for the supervisor. It is better to avoid the use of
personal pronoun. Use of “I” and “the author” should be
avoided. Some supervisors like to use “we”. For an interesting
fun about the usage of “I” and “we” see p.106 of
“Why are things the way they are?” by G. Venkataraman
(University Press, Hyderabad, 1992).
Both active and passive voice should be used wherever
necessary or appropriate. However, when using them one
should check whether the meaning is strictly correct. For
example, when writing “The experimental results agree
with the theory” we must check whether we are strengthening
the experimental result or the theory. Care must
be taken in using present and past tenses. Use past tense
to describe the data collection and work done by others
and you. For interpretation, assessments and discussions
present tense is appropriate.
Between various stages it is advisable to give gap of
few days so that one can leisurely think of the manuscript
and record how to revise it. This will avoid unnecessary
tension and half-hearted write up.
XVI. LAYOUT OF A RESEARCH REPORT /
PH.D. THESIS / M.PHIL. DISSERTATION
The layout of a research report is the list of various
parts of the report/thesis. Generally, a research report
should consist of the following three components:
(1) Preliminary pages
(2) Main text
(3) End matters
A. Preliminary Pages
Preliminary pages include title of the report, acknowledgement,
certificate page, list of publications and table of
contents. Acknowledgements are written to thank those
who have helped the researcher during their course of investigation.
For a book it is in the form of preface or forward.
Acknowledgement should be brief, simple, modest
18
and given only to substantial assistance provided by the
guide, head of the department, staff of the department,
agencies which provided financial support, collaborators
and institutions where part of the work has been carried
out. Acknowledgements made for routine participation
by members of the researcher’s family, librarian, friends,
clerical helpers and god are normally considered superfluous.
Acknowledgement should be made at the time of
public viva-voce also. There is a chance for a researcher
to forget to say acknowledgement at the end of the presentation.
To avoid this he may do it at the beginning of
the presentation. An important point is to consider the
tone to adopt so that you sound genuine.
Every research report should have an abstract . It is a
necessary part of any scientific and nonscientific research
report. In a research article it appears next to the author’s
name and affiliation. In the case of Ph.D. thesis,
before its submission an elaborated abstract of the thesis
called synopsis has to be submitted to the institution
where registration for Ph.D. degree is made. Abstract
and synopsis convey the essence and brief details about
the report. It should contain a very short statement of
the problem, methodology and procedures adapted in the
work and results of the study in a very condensed form.
The abstract can act as a tool to control the flow of ideas
in the thesis. It can help you link in a logical way the
reasons for the research and aims of the work. It should
contain answers to the questions: What was done in the
project? Why is it of interest? How was it done? What
were the outcomes of the work done? What is the significance
of the results? One should emphasize the original
contribution in the abstract. The abstract of a Ph.D.
thesis will be about three or four pages.
Table of contents gives title of the chapters, section
headings, title of appendices and their page numbers. In
the certificate page the researcher should undertake that
the work reported has not been reported earlier by him
or by any one else for the award of any degree. It should
also mention that the work is done by the researcher and
not copied from any other source.
All the preliminary pages should be numbered with
lower-case roman numbers.
B. Main Text
The main text presents the details of the research work
and results. This part of the thesis should provide the
following, about the research work:
(1) Introduction
(2) Actual research work performed and the findings
(3) Summary and conclusion.#p#分页标题#e#
1. Introduction
The purpose of the introduction is to give a brief outline
of the field of research. In this part one can bring
clearly the importance of the field and the current status
of it. It should contain an overview of the problem, its
importance, statements about the hypothesis or specific
questions to be explored. This is followed by a preview
of the scheme of the following chapters, that is an outline
of plan of the work. Here, aim of each of the chapters
and their contents can be briefly stated. Related
and relevant work done by others must be pointed out.
Various concepts and definitions of scientific and technical
terms necessary for understanding the research work
undertaken are to be defined and explained. Details of
statistical tools or quantities used in the study can be
given in a separate chapter.
Irrelevant and less informative materials need not be
presented. For example, regular and irregular behaviour
of solution of a system or differential equation can be
characterized by calculating the statistical tools such as
Lyapunov exponents, correlation function, correlation dimension,
power spectrum, periodicity of the solution and
probability distribution. If the power spectrum is not
used in a research work then there is no need to discuss
in detail the systematic way of calculating it. Similarly,
suppose the effect of noise in a theoretical model equation
is studied by including, say, Gaussian random numbers
in the simulation. There are many methods available to
generate Gaussian random numbers. If the Box–Muller
method is used then it can be described. In this case describing
other methods, for example, rejection technique
is redundant to the present thesis report. The theory
and experimental set up used should be clearly described
with proper references. Define the technical terms used
in the dissertation either by a reference to a previously
published definition or by a precise definition. Such a
definition should be given only once in the report.
The introductory chapter(s) should be prepared in
such a way that it should interest the reader in the subject
matter of research. It should not be aimless, confused
and laking in precision. Introductory part may contain
one or two chapters.
To be precise, the introductory part should cover the
following aspects:
(1) Features of the topic
(2) Present status of the field
(3) Some unsolved problems
(4) Statement of the problem undertaken
(5) Importance and justification of the present problem
19
(6) Preview of the scheme of the following chapters and
their interrelationship Definition of various scientific
terms used, and
(7) Methodology used.
2. Actual Research Work
This is the heart of the research report/thesis. The
actual research work undertaken, difficulties faced, technical
details, results, conclusion and future direction form
the main part of this portion. This part can be presented
in a few chapters. Each chapter should contain introduction,
research work, results and conclusion. Materials
should be organized systematically and presented under
appropriate headings and subheadings. First, write the
chapters that describe your actual research work. After
this, prepare the conclusion and introduction parts.
When writing the actual work collect the terms and note
down the matter which are to be defined and described
in the introduction.
As Professor P.R. Subramanian points out, for preparing
the Ph.D. thesis report one should not simply copy
word by word from his research articles. Even if the content
of the thesis is the work reported in his research publications,
the student should reword the material without
changing the meaning, give much more details, explanations,
suggestions and possibly a better reorganization of
the content.
Wherever possible, the results should be presented in
the form of figures, illustrations and tables. They can
make the report quite attractive. Tables should be as
precise as possible. All the figures should clearly specify
the variables of the axes, units used and other necessary
information. Figure caption should not be a reproduction
of sentences of the text. It must clearly state what it
is. Figures should be clearly explained in the text. Data
should be fitted to an appropriate mathematical expression.
Nowadays, sophisticated softwares are available for
curve fitting. After making a curve fit or plotting a set
of data, proper explanation for observed variation of the
data should be given. A set of data measurement without
any analysis and discussion is of no use.
Extreme care must be taken in type setting mathematical
equations, variables and parameters involved in the
study. Italic or Greek letters or mathematical symbols
can be used for variables and parameters. For example,
x or X should not be used as a variable name. The correct
usage is x or X (or typeset in italics). All the equations
should be centered and numbered. Vectors should be
clearly specified by an arrow over the name or by bold
face name. Equations should not be repeated.
Jokes or puns should not find a place in the report.
Use “correct” or “incorrect” to refer to the results
of others. Don’t use the words “bad”, “terrible” and
“stupid”. Avoid use of “today”, “modern times”, “soon”,
“seems”, “in terms of”, “based on”, “lots of”, “type of”,
“something like”, “just about”, “number of”, “probably”,
“obviously”, “along with”, “you”, “I”, “hopefully”
and “may”. There is no need to mention the circumstances
in which the results are obtained.
Assignment:
(10) Reword/rephrase the following and give the reason
for the change:
(a) Dinesh and Geethan [1] reported that ...
(b) The following algorithm represents a major
breakthrough ....
(c) Even though the above method is not earthshaking
....
(d) Geethan and I obtained ....
(e) There is a method to calculate ....
(f) The program will use the data after it stored
them to a CD ...
(g) The method is started by calculating the value
of  ....
3. Conclusion
At the end of each of chapter, one can place a brief
summary of the outcome of the work presented in that
chapter under the heading conclusion. They should be
clear and precise.
The relevant questions which are still not answered and
new questions raised by the work of the present chapter
have to be mentioned. Whether the answers to the questions
are obtained or not, if obtained in which chapter(s)
they are presented should be specified. Mention possible
future research. It is important to make a connection between
two consecutive chapters either at the end of the
first or at the beginning of the second.
Chapters should not look like reports of isolated work.
There should be a link between consecutive chapters and
the link should be clearly brought out.
C. End Matters
The end part of the report generally consists of references,
appendices, computer programs (if they are not
easy to develop) and copies of research publications that
came out from the research work done.
20
1. Appendices
Appendices are supplementary contents which are not
placed in the main report in order to keep the continuity
of the discussion; however, they are relevant for understanding
the particular part of the report. An appendix
may present
(1) a brief summary of a theory or a numerical method
used which can be found elsewhere,
(2) a lengthy mathematical derivation or a large set of
equations,
(3) technical details and
(4) a list of values of constants and parameters used in
the work.
Appendices can be placed at the end of report after references.
They should be numbered by capital alphabets.
2. References/Bibliography
References or bibliographies are sources consulted.
Each reference should contain name(s) of author(s), title
of the paper, journal name, volume number of the issue
in which the article appeared, starting page number, end
page number and year of publication. In the case of a
book source its author(s), title, publishers’s name, place
of publication, year of publication and edition should be
given. Some examples are given below.
(1) Suppose the reference is the paper of K. Murali,
Sudeshna Sinha and W.L. Ditto with title “Implementation
of NOR gate by a chaotic Chua’s circuit”
appeared in the journal called ‘International Journal
of Bifurcations and Chaos’ in the year 2003, the
volume number of corresponding issue is 13 and the
starting and ending page numbers of the article are
2669 and 2672 respectively. The above article can
be specified as (without mentioning the title of the
article)
K. Murali, Sudeshna Sinha and W.L. Ditto, Int. J
Bifur. and Chaos 13 (2003) 2669–2672.
(2) For an article which appeared in a conference proceedings#p#分页标题#e#
a typical format is given below:
R. Harish and K.P.N. Murthy, “Intermittency
and multifractality in iterated function systems”.
In: Nonlinear Systems. Eds. R. Sahadevan
and M. Lakshmanan (Narosa, New Delhi, 2002)
pp. 361–371.
In the above “Intermittency....” is the title of the
report of R. Harish and K.P.N. Murthy. “Nonlinear
Systems” is the title of the conference proceedings
edited by R. Sahadevan and M. Lakshmanan.
The proceeding was published in the year 2002 by
Narosa Publishing House, New Delhi. In the proceedings
the article appears from the page 361 to
page 371.
(3) A book can be noted down as, for example
T. Kapitaniak, “Controlling Chaos” (Academic
Press, San Diego, 1996).
(4) A Ph.D. thesis can be referred as shown below:
S. Parthasarathy, “On the analytic structure and
chaotic dynamics of certain damped driven nonlinear
oscillators”. Ph.D. thesis. (Bharathidasan
University, 1993, Unpublished).
(5) For an unpublished manuscript downloaded from
internet one can note down the web site where it is
available (see for example the references 5 and 6 of
the references section of this manuscript).
References can be either in alphabetical order according
to author’s name or the order in which they are referred
in the report. Make sure that each reference cited in
the text is correctly entered into the list of references.
Repetition of references in the list should be avoided.
D. Typing the Report
Typing should conform to the set of requirements of
the institution. The thesis should be double line spaced
and not more than 25 lines per page. It may be typed
on both sides. Chapter heading must be in large size
with bold face. Each paragraph should be right margin
aligned. Important terms when used first time can be
in italic letters and bold face. First word of a sentence
should not be an abbreviation. Latest softwares such as
LATEX or WORD can be used for thesis, dissertation
and report preparation. One could download the software
LATEX a free of cost from the web sites:
1) http://www.ctan.org
2) http://www.miktex.org
If a report is prepared keeping all the above precautions
in mind, there is every likelihood of it becoming
useful for proper study. Such report enables the reader
to comprehend the data and to determine for himself the
validity of the conclusion.
Before or immediately after submitting hard copies of
the Ph.D. dissertation to a university, show it to your
colleagues, teachers, scientists of your department, your
parents and friends.
XVII. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
We acknowledge valuable discussion with Professor
M. Sivasankaran Nair, Dr K. Balasubramanian and
21
Dr E. Subramanian. We are very grateful to Professor
P.R. Subramanian and Dr K.P.N. Murthy for a critical
reading of the manuscript and their suggestions which
greatly improved the presentation of the manuscript. We
are thankful to Prof.V.Devanathan, Dr.K.P.N.Murthy
and Dr.Sudeshna Sinha for their suggestions to young
researchers.
REFERENCES:
1. C. R. Kothari, Research Methodology: Methods and
Techniques (Wiley Eastern, New Delhi, 1985).
2. P. Saravanavel, Research Methodology (Kitab Mahal,
Allahabad, 1987).
3. E. M. Phillips and D. S. Pugh, How to get a Ph.D.?
(UBSPD, New Delhi, 1993).
4. R. Spangenburg and D. K. Moser, The History
of Science in the Eighteenth Century (University
Press, Hyderabad, 1999)
5. http://www.cs.indiana.edu/mit.research.how.to/
section3.12.html
6. http://www.camden.rutgers.edu/camden/TEC/
index.html
“It seems to me that scientific research should be regarded
as a painter regards his art, a poet his poems,
and a composer his music.” – Albert A. Michelson.
“The average Ph.D. thesis is nothing but transference
of bones from one graveyard to another.” – Frank J. Dobie.
When I got by B.S., I would be able to “bullshit”...
When I got by M.S. I would have “more shit”, and that
finally, upon reaching my Ph.D., it would be “piled higher
and deeper.” – S. Baker.
“Works are of value only if they give rise to better
ones.” – Alexander von Humboldt.
A Short interview with three eminent scientists.
1. Interview with Professor V. Devanathan
What are the requirements for a successful research career?
Prof. V. Devanathan : Motivation and innate interest in
the topic of his research pursuit are the requirements for a
successful research career. If a person takes the research
not by compulsion but by his own choice, then he will
not feel it as a burden but pursue it as a hobby. “Science
is at its best when it is a part of a way of life” - this
is the inscription that is found on the foundation stone
of Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai and truly
describes the correct aptitude for a successful research
career.
Is it possible for an average student to come up with novel
results in a research problem? If so, what kind of approach
he should follow?
Prof. V. Devanathan : Usually, the assessment of a student
as good, average or bad is based on his performance
in the examinations. There are some who are good in
examinations with a good memory for reproduction but
lack in deeper understanding of the subject and originality
in approach. There are some who are not so good in
examinations but show originality in thinking and follow
unconventional or novel approach to the subject. There
are a few who are good both in examinations and research.
So, an average student with an ability of average
performance in the examinations, need not feel different
if he has originality in thinking and self-confidence.
During a research career, a young researcher may come
across disappointing moments like not getting expected
results, rejection of a research article from a journal, etc.
What kind of mode of approach a researcher should have
to face such situations?
Prof. V. Devanathan : “Success begets success and failure
begets failure.” Success and failure are like two sides
of a coin and one is bound to face them alternatively in
the course of one’s research career. Elation at the time of
success and depression at the time of failure are usually
mitigated if one works in collaboration with others. At
the time of depression, the co-workers come to the rescue
and prop up the sagging spirit.
In our manuscript we have mentioned the following:
Each and every bit of work has to be done by the researcher.
A young researcher should not do the entire
work in collaboration with others. The researcher is advised
to perform all the work starting from identification
of the problem to report preparation by himself under the
guidance of supervisor.
Please give your views on this point.
Prof. V. Devanathan : At the initial stages, the researcher
gets the support of the research group in which
he is working and he acquires the knowledge of the group
effortlessly. The weekly informal seminars, if conducted
within the group, will increase the pace of learning and
help to clarify and crystallize the problems. This process
of learning is made easier if the young researcher works in
collaboration with others. This is true both for theoretical
and experimental work. At present, the experimental
work is almost a team work and successful research group
22
is one in which the group leader allots the specified work
to individuals taking into account his ability and expertise.
2. Interview with Dr K.P.N. Murthy
The common belief is that research is laborious and
painful. Many times you have mentioned: “Doing research
is an entertainment.” Please, elaborate on this
statement of yours.
Dr K.P.N. Murthy : Research not only constitute a discovery
or creating a new paradise but also consist of obtaining
a personalized understanding of a phenomenon.
The struggle that you go through for obtaining an insight
into a phenomenon or getting a hold of a nuance and the
extessy that you get when you get an understanding of
a phenomenon or obtaining a new way of explaining of
that phenomenon may be unmatched. This ecstasy is
nothing to do with what yours creative have impact on
science and society. However, it is the ecstasy of what
Einstein got when he created special theory of relativity
or Feynman when he created quantum electrodynamics
or Raman when he found the so-called Raman lines. It
is this makes the research an enterprise of joy. It is that
makes a research an entertainment.
Is it necessary for a beginner of research to learn all the
aspects of theoretical, experimental and numerical techniques
involved in a topic before he take-up an actual
research problem?
Dr K.P.N. Murthy : A certain basic knowledge about
physics and mathematics is must for starting research.
That is it. Several things you learn doing research. Ignorance
of even some of the basic elements is no hindrance
for creativity. What is required for doing good research
is an enthusiasm, a commitment and willingness to go#p#分页标题#e#
back to basics and learn them right.
Before preparing the final write-up of your research work,
you have the practice of discussing the salient features of
your findings with a few other researchers. How are you
benefited from this?
Dr K.P.N. Murthy : After you have completed a piece
of work I find it is a good practice to discuss with your
colleagues the important findings that you have made. I
have always realized that I got a better understanding of
what I have done when I tried to explain to my colleagues
about my work in a convincing way. The very act of
speaking of what you have done removes the cob-webs in
your understandings. I always make it to give a seminar
on my work to a larger audience before submitting it to
a journal for publication. I feel this is a very good and
helpful practice.
“Enjoy doing research and approach it as an entertainment
and a mode of getting happiness.” This is your suggestion
to young researchers. Please, brief it for the benefit
of youngsters. In what way will this be helpful to a
researcher?
Dr K.P.N. Murthy : In any human enterprise it is important
that one likes what one does. The hard work that
you have put in a problem does not tired you and rest be
assured if you approach a research problem with joy and
you will get a good result. Publication of that result and
the acceptance that you get from your colleagues become
secondary. The satisfaction that you obtained by doing a
job well is a reward by itself. I would say that youngsters
should have this attitude towards whatever they do.
3. Interview with Dr Sudeshna Sinha
Despite unavoidable tasks a woman of our country has,
you have become one of the leading scientists in theoretical
physics. What are your advice and suggestions
to young researchers particularly to young women researchers?
Dhttp://www.ukassignment.org/yjfflw/2012/0331/19387.html r Sudeshna Sinha : It is indeed somewhat harder for
women to concentrate on career planning - especially
when their children are young. One will have to accept
that household tasks will always be there. The hardest
thing is not really the number of hours of work one
can put in - but the quality of concentration one can
achieve. Here discipline comes in. Since women will
probably manage to get fewer hours of academic work
done every day - they need to really plan the academic
work they hope to achieve every single day. So it is most
beneficial to discipline oneself into shutting off all daily
chores from one’s mind for some hours every day. The
point is to learn efficiency – and to appreciate that one
does not have the benefit of unlimited time (as others will
make justifiable demands on your time – like children).
Also women may find it hard to pursue academic work
at certain points in their life - but they must preserve the
self-confidence and will to return to academic after such
times are over. They must realize that in 3–4 decades of
working life – a few years is not a big deal. They should
not think that a break in career is irreversible.
Publishing in reputed journals (like Physical Review Letters)
is a dream or prestige for many physicists. What
are the secret of yours for regular publications in reputed
journals? What type of problems one has to take up for
getting published in top-level journals?
Dr Sudeshna Sinha : With journals like Physical Review
Letters one must remember two things: First, always try
and make a case of the general interest of your results.
The commonest grounds for rejection is lack of broad interest
. This is very subjective of course, and being Indian
does not help. But still, at the outset, one should
make an attractive statement of the general scope of one’s
work (that is, try to answer this hypothetical question:
Why should someone not doing research in this exact
narrow sub-field be interested in reading my paper). Second
point is persistence. Take all criticisms of the paper
23
seriously (and don’t reply needlessly aggressively to the
referees) and try to answer all the criticisms. Then resubmit,
and don’t give up till the last round!
How could a beginner of research come up with novel results?
Dr Sudeshna Sinha : Well, I think coming up with novel
results is not entirely in one’s hand. There is an element
of good fortune here! If the guide of the young researcher
can identify a problem that is technically easy to tackle –
but whose results can be of considerable potential interest
– then there is a good chance for the young researcher
to get a novel result. But this is not in the hands of the
young researcher, and most often not in the hands of the
guide either (as it depends on the subject, timing etc.).
In this matter I always tell my students:
whether you get a novel result tomorrow is a
matter of luck, but in a career spanning several
decades, if you work steadily and think deeply
about the subject, it is almost assured that at
some point or the other, you will get a good idea
which will lead to a novel result!
To get a deep insight into the topic or problem of research,
what are the ways a young researcher can follow?
Dr Sudeshna Sinha : One should not just passively read
papers or books! One should try to work it all out in
some detail. While reading passively one feels one has
understood – but only when one is trying to solve something
does one gain any real understanding. In fact it is
a great idea to look at the title and abstract of a paper,
and then ask oneself how one would have attempted to
work on such a problem and only then look at what the
authors have done.

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