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Basics in Academic Research


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Basics on how to start a career in research

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Basics in Academic Research

  1. 1. BASICS OF ACADEMIC RESEARCH 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 1 Prof K P Mohandas Dean Academic, MES College of Engg (Former Dean PG Studies & Research NIT Calicut)
  2. 2. 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” 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 2
  3. 3. Basics  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 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 3
  4. 4. 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 groups. In actual life for many academics 2. To get a research degree MS, M Phil or PhD 3. To get career advancement in profession 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 4
  5. 5. 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. 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 5
  6. 6. 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 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 6
  7. 7. Industrial research 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. 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 7
  8. 8. 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 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 8
  9. 9. 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. 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 9
  10. 10. 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 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 10
  11. 11. Proposal for research along with application  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 starting point  But one should be clear about what you have in mind and tell others what you are planning to do 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 11
  12. 12. Choice of a guide  Matching your interest with the work done by guide.  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 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 12
  13. 13. Converging to a problem – the search  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 institutions 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 13
  14. 14. 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 read. 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 14
  15. 15. 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 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 15
  16. 16. 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 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 16
  17. 17. Hurdle No 2: Comprehensive examinations  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 not adequate 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 17
  18. 18. Review of progress or update  Doctoral committees (DC) with Chairman, guides and experts from outside (other departments)  Proposal defense or second comprehensive  Frequent presentation for evaluation of progress  Required for renewal of financial support  Suggestions from members of DC helpful 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 18
  19. 19. 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 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 19
  20. 20. Ethics in research  Objectivity: define specific goals and arrive at precise and accurate conclusions.  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. 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 20
  21. 21. 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 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 21
  22. 22. Ethics in Research  No discrimination: Never discriminate others by race, religion, or gender and give them due respect they deserve  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. 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 22
  23. 23. Thesis submission  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 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 23
  24. 24. Oral examination/ defense  Thesis Acceptance by examiners ( both national and international)  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 10/7/2014 Academic Research What Why and How 24