BASICS OF ACADEMIC
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Prof K P Mohandas
Dean Academic, MES College of Engg
(Former Dean PG Studies & Research
Basics : what is research?
Research is nothing but:
Exploring the unexplored, searching for the new
things – curiosity is the driving force
Definition:( Oxford dictionary)
“the systematic investigation into and study of
materials and sources in order to establish facts
and reach new conclusions”
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A systematic investigation conducted on
A given problem or phenomenon
For the purpose of
establishing facts and
use the investigations to
reach a new conclusion
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Why do research?
1. To find something new, out of curiosity
All gadgets and innovations which make human life
better are the outcomes of research by individuals or
In actual life for many academics
2. To get a research degree MS, M Phil or PhD
3. To get career advancement in profession
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Academic /Industrial research
By academic research is meant the research work
carried out in academic institutions under the
guidance of supervisor(s) and leading to the
award of a research degree, MS, M Phil or PhD.
Restrictive in the sense that the student is confined
to work within the rules and regulations to be
followed and the work has to be completed within a
definite time frame.
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Outcome of Academic research
1. Award of degrees like MS, M Phil, PhD or D Sc.
2.Research publications in conferences and journals
3. Patents which may be of
immediate use by industry Or
may be used only after years
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Industrial research is based on
1. A need to innovate depend of the real time
problems faced by the industry.
2. Sustaining the industry may be difficult without
innovation due to stiff competition.
Very often an industrial research is in the form of a
project to be completed within a limited period.
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Outcome of Industrial research
The methodology and results
Will be of immediate use to the industry resulting
in the enhancement of the quality of a product or a
process and results in more profit.
The contributions in an industrial research belongs
to a group of individuals or team of scientists with
the credit going to the team rather than a few
individuals as in academic research
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Types of Academic research
Research leading to totally new theory: Theory of
relativity, gravitational forces, Newton’s laws etc.
A new interpretation or explanation of a physical or
natural phenomenon : origin of the universe, theory of
black holes, invention of the wheel etc.
Extension/ modification/ counter proof for existing
theory or explanation.
Verification by simulation and validation of a proposed
theory or explanation.
Collection of extensive data on a phenomenon by
experiments and interpretation of the pattern for
improving the quality of life on planet earth.
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Where do you start ?
Choice of an area of research
Choice based on:
Previous familiarity and interests –
Strong in fundamentals
Availability of research institutions
Availability of guides in the institution
Possibility of completion within a
reasonable period, say, 3-4 years
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Proposal for research along with
Required in many institutions
Identify a topic in your chosen area
Read extensively the literature on the same.
Prepare a proposal based on your idea
Do not worry about whether this will be good
enough as a PhD problem
Extension of work done in Master’s thesis may be a
But one should be clear about what you have in
mind and tell others what you are planning to do
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Choice of a guide
Matching your interest with the work done by
But often, the scholar may have to choose an
area/topic suggested by the guide.
Sometimes one may have to choose from:
A very senior person who has guided several
PhDs and publications, but has little time to spare.
A relatively junior person who has plenty of time and
fresh ideas, but not enough experience in guiding
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Converging to a problem – the
Research is 90% search
to find a problem that can be solved
The scholar should be on the look out for
probable topics of research in the area - not easy
Requires in depth reading
On different types of work done in recent times
Published literature on these topics
Abstracts of theses from different reputed
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Continue the search through
Review papers by eminent researchers in the area
written by leading researchers which gives the
chronological development along with suggestions
for future work.
Special issues of journals on the area of research
Excellent tutorials on many topics are freely
available on the net which have to be identified and
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Checking availability of Facilities
Equipment for experimental work
Simulation tools or packages
If not available
Is it possible to procure them?
Are funds available for procurement
Are these available in nearby institutions?
Can you get permission to use them ?
If not initiate steps early to get funding & buy
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Hurdles to cross -1:
Course (credit) requirements
Minimum no of theory courses( credits required) to
be taken – CGPA of 6+.
Can you choose available PG courses?
If so, availability in odd/ even semesters.
Special PhD level courses required?
Requirement of completion in the first year
Home study courses, if not offered
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Hurdle No 2:
Essential in many good institutions to check the
preparedness of the student for research
May require extra crediting/ auditing courses
depending on the area (inter disciplinary)
Normally an oral examination at the end of an year
Additional courses to be taken if the performance is
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Review of progress or update
Doctoral committees (DC) with Chairman,
guides and experts from outside (other
Proposal defense or second comprehensive
Frequent presentation for evaluation of
Required for renewal of financial support
Suggestions from members of DC helpful
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Communication of results
Results obtained interim to be checked
Possible publications in conferences or journals.
Discussion with colleagues working in similar areas,
supervisors and peers
Discussions and reviews of papers (even if not
accepted) very useful to enhance quality
Filing of patents
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Ethics in research
Objectivity: define specific goals and arrive at precise and
Honest and Integrity: Honesty and commitment to a
moral code is always required.
Carefulness: Careless or casual in the presentation. Never
overlook minor things and be sure of what you do. Check
thoroughly before the work is shown to others including
your friends or guides.
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Ethics - continued
Confidentiality: Preserve the confidentiality of the work
of others if they help you. Never disclose things which
others want you to keep confidential.
Mentoring and social responsibility: Senior students
may be entrusted with some social responsibility such as
mentoring of younger researchers. Even if one is pressed
for time, one has to do it without hesitation.
Transparency and openness: Do not be too secretive in
the work thinking that someone else will steal their work.
This apprehension is unfounded. Discussions on your work
with trusted colleagues and peers will help a long way
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Ethics in Research
No discrimination: Never discriminate others by
race, religion, or gender and give them due respect
Intellectual property rights. Never copy from
others. Plagiarism is a crime. Avoid it at any cost.
Acknowledge earlier work. Violation of IPR can
invite strong reprimands which may result in even
disqualification as a punishment.
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When can I submit my thesis ?
Crucial decision with the guide whether requirements
are satisfactorily completed.
A scholar has to accept that.
Approval by Doctoral Committee
Preparation of synopsis & approval by DC
Preparation of first draft of the thesis
Correction by guides several times
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Oral examination/ defense
Thesis Acceptance by examiners ( both national
Examiners’ recommendations can be :
Accepted/ clarifications sought/ rejected
Prepare clarifications or queries with great care
without offending the examiner before approval
Resubmission after further work, if rejected
Award of provisional certificate and
Degree at the next convocation
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