Saturday, 1 July 2017

Reality Check

This write-up got published in "Thinklet" online journal, issued by Jain University, in the July 2017 Issue.


The field of research is nothing less than a true and thorough ‘reality check’. It opens up to new vistas of learning and simultaneously crushes one’s ego and brings the individual down to earth. An ideal research culture demands one to ‘unlearn’ several things and to learn afresh as the journey proceeds. The minimalistic knowledge that we come with must be enhanced meticulously, and research guides the student to travel through reading in a systematic way. By the word, systematic, it means that a researcher cannot read just for the sake of reading. Research calls for a focused reading. In order to unearth the latent meanings, it is a must for a researcher to engage with a text critically.

As the research journey takes forward, the researcher will learn that what he/she knew was only a drop in an infinitely vast ocean of knowledge. If this epiphany occurs to the researcher, then he/she will certainly be able to find solutions to problems or at least would come up with negotiating factors to work around the problems that exist in his/her respective research discipline. Research enhances the horizons of learning and knowledge building, but one must surrender to the superiority of books, for books are the only entities that can make one feel small in the right way.

An eighteenth century English poet, Alexander Pope, has rightly said in his An Essay on Criticism;
 
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.

In the above lines, “Pierian spring” is considered to be the fountain of ‘knowledge’, and one must drink its waters to the fullest, or never bother to go near it. A researcher must be an eternal learner, if not, he/she is sure to be doomed in the name of charlatanism.

10 comments:

Arun said...

Good one on research and the researcher and the seeker of knowledge. But to what an extent this is happening in the real life. When I speak to various researchers and the teachers, this remains the constant topic of discussion.

Suhasini Srihari said...

I think the primary problem resides in this whole umbrella of "research culture" which we have adopted from our western masters, but it is something that we are constantly grappling with. For a researcher to be critical, inquisitive, curious, sincere, and ethical, it must be reflected in his/her research facilitator. Research works in India are being done, mostly, to simply have another degree at hand. This has to change, benchmarks have to be set for one to pursue formal research, else the whole project of "quality" research remains merely in words and not in actions.

Arun said...

You are absolutely right, the whole cycle of research - who ever is involved should inculcate and try to contribute to the culture. I was talking to one of the professor - the committed scientists in both pre-independence and post-independence tried to d things with passion despite the meagre infrastructure and the information, they went out to do research and were back and tried to put into practice what they learnt and tried to develop necessary infrastructure so that next gen will benefit out of it, do we have now any of them.?

Suhasini Srihari said...

As much as it is important for universities to award research degrees, it is also equally important for them to provide, to the research students, quality research. This can happen when both, the teacher and the taught, participate in a healthy exchange of knowledge. But, what do we find in today's scenario is completely different! Knowledge is not being shared, instead it is merely used as a yardstick to measure one's importance in a group of academicians. This has to change!

Arun said...

I am sure the buck stop here or start here. Research culture / academic culture, integrity flurishes with the general culture or he circumstances or the rules that establish a particular order or the general academic culture that needs to be brought from culture. Needs to bestarted from the bottom of the pyramic that will enhance the same to the top. Education when is relegated to the business arena, how to one expect values. I spent money for degree so I need to gain out of it surely make one not stick to the culture which to my understanding is contrast to the culture of research we are talking about?

Suhasini Srihari said...

I couldn't agree with you more! Commercialization of education has in a way ruined the true joys of learning. One must consciously step into this abyss of research, he/she must fight it out individually.

Arun said...

My point is the commercialisation of education brings out totally different set of values and culture. How do one with different value / culture stand or fight?

Suhasini Srihari said...

That's the biggest battle for us now. If you look into your own peer circle, how many of them are there who want to genuinely pursue a degree. Many of them simply come for acquiring just another degree! Students are at fault as much as the teachers and institutions.

Arun said...

I am inspired by your thoughts on research. I will write to you, my random thoughts probably on two recent posts posts of your blog as a way of reply as well. Thanks for thought provoking ideas.

Suhasini Srihari said...

I am glad you found these points engaging. I look forward to reading your comments on the same.

Post a Comment

I would love to hear from you! Do leave a comment!