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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

On Research

Following is the compilation of responses to a survey that MA English ... students undertook to understand issues around research in English Studies. It was part of the Research and Writing Heuristics course. The compilation was done by Rashmi and Jijo of II year MA English


What is research?
Exploration, analysis, diverges from existing knowledge. It is constant renewal. Propose to create theories. Can be subjective. Way of life, hard work, individual perspective, search for truth. It is quest for ideas, re-search for ideas. It begins with a question or a problem. It does not start with the state of knowingness. Not defining but proposing and proving something. It is a fusion and confusion of ideas. It is a search for new dimensions. Investigation. Proposing your views and your ideas.

How is research different in Humanities, languages, social sciences and natural sciences?
Linguistics is more academic and classroom oriented, quantitative. Linguistics is exact. Research in language studies is creative and imaginative. It is inclusive and multidisciplinary, qualitative, appeals to senses. Interdisciplinary, multiple interpretations. Concepts in literature can change.

How does one go about doing research?
Observation, questioning oneself, conclusion, analysis. Need to have the basic knowledge in the area, simple and accessible, have correct perspective, be open to changes, conduct a literature survey. Follow the existing methods, be objective and clear. Should start from nothingness, read, keep jotting down? Choose the area of your interest, engage constantly, build on it, and if it is broad try to narrow it down.

When should one start?
When one feels confident, ready, when one has enough data and information, yesterday. Read and write, collect data, follow exact method, enough data, language should flow. It should start now.

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