Some Tips for the Researcher

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When you read a number of books and/or articles and take notes, in order to write an article for Prosit, or give a presentation at an SCI event, or the Beer Stein College, is what you are doing, truly research? Quite simply, NO! What you are doing is reviewing those books and articles and compiling notes extracted from someone else's research. This is the type of "research" most people do and there is nothing wrong with that, because you may be presenting information to others that they were not previously aware of, or may not have had access to. Just don't confuse it with real research.

Real research is delving into dark territory where none have gone before. Sometimes, a new idea will catch you by surprise. "If that is so, why didn't anyone think of it before?" The truth is that many people can't see beyond their noses and reject new ideas out of hand, because it means they will have to re-learn something they thought they already knew. Years ago, every one knew the Earth was flat and the center of the Universe and to even suggest that the truth lay elsewhere, was often a death sentence. Thankfully, if you put forward a new idea today, you only have to suffer the ignorant comments of those with closed minds. "Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up." The road to the acceptance of new ideas is often long and full of bumps and potholes.

Before you start a new research project here are a few of the things you are going to need:

  • An inquiring mind.

  • An eye for style and detail.

  • A flexible mind, open to change.

  • Lots and lots of common sense.

  • A strong constitution and an amiable disposition.

  • An excellent memory, or a good camera, preferably digital, if your memory isn't so good.

  • A note pad with a pen, or pencil, to take notes describing the photos you just took, because by the time you get home, you will have forgotten some of the details.

  • Maybe a ruler, maybe not.
  • Here are some things to keep in mind and even though a couple of them were already noted above, they need repeating:

  • In the end, your research will turn out to be a labor of love.

  • You and only you, must be satisfied with the results of your research, which will probably be the case anyway, because most people simply won't give a hoot.

  • Some will even reject your findings out of hand and without reason.

  • You will become frustrated.

  • Don't let it bother you.

  • You will make new friends and perhaps lose some old ones.

  • You will probably do more traveling.

  • And the things you discover may surprise even you.

  • So, continue to have original thoughts and keep on researching.
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    Copyright © 2005-2009 by John McGregor. All rights reserved.