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Principals Diary

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January 2010
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  1. Volume 3 Month 1 Day 31- Overcoming Difficulties in Research by Being a Good Researcher


     Difficulties in Research

    Research is a complex task that requires great skill and knowledge. It is a big responsibility that requires great effort from researchers. Many factors affect the research and it is conspicuous that researcher would face some difficulties while conducting a research on a particular problem. Research problems are itself complex in nature. The major step is to identify a research problem properly. However, the problem is not as easy as prima facie it looks. There are several difficulties in the way of research. Some difficulties are:

    1.     Problem of finding a good investigator: No research can be successful unless the investigator is sincere and properly qualified. A researcher should possess qualities of both head and heart. They should not allow their prejudice to enter their research work. They must be devoted to the cause that they have undertaken upon themselves. Researcher should work with some missionary zeal. It is a usual material that research investigators cook the material, do not take the trouble to going to the field for getting first hand information. They are easy going and cannot establish rapport with the respondents.


    2.     Problem of Collecting Information: Then another difficulty is that of collecting information. An investigator is to collect information from human beings. Usually people are not ready to cooperate with the researcher. They have no interest either in researcher or in research. They find no justification in divulging secrets. A researcher is often mistaken as a government servant who can misuse the information once supplied. In many cases the people from whom researcher can get useful information are either not available for supplying information or are not prepared to supply that.


    3.     Dependence on others: Dependence on others possesses another problem in research. A researcher cannot do everything by himself/herself. They are required to employ the investigators. Similarly, they have to collect information from those who are not ready to co-operate. A researcher also has to depend on others for tabulating, analyzing and interpreting the data. Thus, seriousness of researcher alone does not serve the purpose.


    4.     Arrogance of researcher: Researchers have generally urban orientation and background. But, they can be required to collect information from rural area respondents because India resides in village and many of the problems come from rural areas. Unfortunately, researchers from urban areas who are working in the rural area, do not leave their arrogance. They fail to identify themselves with rural respondents and consider them as illiterate masses. Thus, there always remain a gap between respondents and researcher due to this arrogance, which hampers research work.


    5.     Problem of Analyzing data: When the data has been collected, the problem of researcher does not end with that. Findings of the researchers depend on the interpretation of data. Usually it is seen that data is analyzed by analyzers in such a way that suits their convenience and preconceived notions. It is usually difficult to find out such analyzers who do not bring their biases while interpreting and analyzing data.


    6.     No research consciousness: Mostly people in India are not very much research conscious. Vast majority does not appreciate the significance of research in identifying and solving problems.


    7.     Questionnaire related Problems: One of the common methods of investigating social research is questionnaire method. But this method has its own problems. First of all problem of constructing a questionnaire arises. The researcher is expected to formulate a questionnaire that the reply to the question is either in the positive or negative which is not easy. Similarly difficulties arises when a questionnaire is not structured keeping in view the problems of interpretation and analysis or data being collected with its help. But the most serious difficulty with questionnaire method is that responses to the questionnaire are very poor.


    8.     Temptation for Generalization: Usually difficulty arises on account of temptation of investigator and researcher to generalize research findings forgetting that there is vast variations in the process at different place, social conditions and environment.


    9.     A costly Affair: These days research is quite a costly affair, both in terms of time and money that only well placed and financially sound. The cost factors very badly affect research work.

    Although, there are a number of difficulties in the way of research, but these difficulties can be overcome to a large extent if the researcher possess certain good qualities. Researcher’s knowledge, skill, talent, enthusiasm and behaviour would certainly result in a successful research. No research can be successful unless and until there are good researchers. It is an undisputed fact that the number of good researchers in every society is very limited.

    How to be a Good Researcher

    A good researcher can only the one who possesses some essential qualities of head and heart. Some such qualities are:

    Good researchers are one whose natures in unison with that of the problem which they are researching. They should themselves be truthful and capable of adjusting themselves with the situation in which they are placed for researching the problem.

    They should be capable of collecting information without any bias or prejudices. They should have no preconceived notions.

    They should have capacity to get in-depth information from their respondents.

    They should have desire for accuracy, keen observations and precisions of statement. They should not be content with approximity or accepting what prima facie  they can see. In other words, they should have probing minds.

    They should be prepared to analyze the data collected impartially and without twisting that in their favour, no matter whether that is suiting to their viewpoint or not.

    They should always have an alert mind and capable enough to listen to even low whispering. In other words, they should be receptive to hints. It is just possible that a seemingly innocent hint may lead to identifying a far reaching and significant research problems. In the words of Cohen, “It is a mark of scientific genius to be sensitive to difficulties where less gifted people pass by untroubled by doubt.”

    Good researchers do not allow their personal prejudices enter their research work. As human beings we can have certain prejudices and also certain preconceived notions about the problem being researched by them but it is expected of them to keep all their personal prejudices and likings with themselves and not allow these to influence their research findings, etc.

    Then another quality of good researchers is that they should not easily get discouraged. It is possible that they may be faced with serious difficulties. The respondents may not cooperate with them and they may be unwelcome to the place of research. It is equally possible that they may subsequently feel that the choice of the problem was wrong. However, even in spite of all the problems that confront them, they must have moral courage to face the odds and go ahead with the task that they have undertaken upon themselves.

    They should not too dependent on commonsense. Dependence on common sense in actual practice means accepting certain preconceived notions and accepting those to be true. This is obviously not good for research.

    They should have proper sense of devoting their time in a balanced way. They must realize that time at their disposal is very limited. Society cannot much spend on their research either by way of money or time. As such, it is desirable that they should spend their time very carefully. It is also expected of them that they should not spend more time on one aspect of research that suits their viewpoint or on what is not acceptable to them. Thus, they should carefully prepare time budgeting.

    A good researcher need not care whether his/her research findings are being approved or disapproved by the society. If their research leads them to such conclusions that will be disapproved by the society, even then they should boldly come forward to make their findings available to the society in the face of social disapprovals, because a good researcher is expected to place before the society solid facts with impartial analysis.

    It is always expected of good researchers that they should be expert in the study of the subject on which they are going to research. They should have clear idea of the problem going to be investigated and remove all doubts from their mind about the study.

    They should have the clear idea of the terminology that they are going to use. There should be uniformity in that and they should be clear what is going to be understood by the terms being used. All their research efforts and findings will become defective in case they use the term differently at different places or in different situations. Uniformity in use of terminology is thus very essential for any research and researcher.

    During the course of their research they are sure to come in contact with several persons. They are expected to get information from them. Usually the people are reluctant to divulge corrected information. It is, therefore, expected of a good researcher that they should establish good contacts with them and keep them in good humour so that they are prepared to come out with useful information available with them to be used by them for the purpose of their research findings.

    They should be good in conversation and during the course of their research, they should speak the language of the respondents from whom they are going to get information. They should not forget that basic idea is not to impress their superiority on their respondents but to get information from them. Thus in their conversation they should not be boring. They should never give an idea to the party that they are over cunning. On the other hand, impression should be left that the researcher has self-confidence.

    Summing up:

    All the difficulties that arise in a research can be overcome by possessing good research skills and characteristics. Research is a science that requires knowledge of scientific methods as well as it is an art, as it requires certain skills like communication, humour, interpersonal skill etc. for making the research a successful one. Research involves ethics and thus, a researcher should conduct his/her research with all seriousness and great zeal as the findings of the research would have its implications in the society. Research is, thus, not a personal matter of the researcher only but it matters to a whole society.  For a researcher, to be called a good researcher, he/she must possess the following characteristics:

    ·        Curiosity about unknown

    ·        Imagination and Insight

    ·        Self-Motivation

    ·        Clarity of thoughts and ideas

    ·        Adequate knowledge on subject

    ·        Adequate resources and means

    ·        Intellectual Insight

    ·        Good health and attractive personality

    ·        Persistence, tolerance and self-control

    ·        Organizing capacity and ability to take quick decisions

    ·        Critical thinking skill and probing mind

    ·        Statistical ability

    ·        Refined manners, adaptability of behaviour, balance and alertness

    ·        Knowledge of research techniques and interest in the research

    ·        Objectivity and concentration of problem

    ·        Experience and training

    ·        Understanding of person, place and time


  2. Volume 3 Month 1 Day 29- Ten Common Characteristics of Good Teachers

    It is true that different teachers have different teaching style. However, there are some common characteristics of a good teacher. These are as follows: 1.     Good teachers plan their session/lessons thoroughly, with regard to not only curriculum requirements, but also taking account of health and safety factors, stimulating a positive... Comment
  3. Volume 3 Month 1 Day 27 – Neural Trapping: A Brief Remedial Technique for Students with Memory and Attention-related Learning Disorders

    Neural Trapping  A Brief Remedial Technique for Students with Memory and Attention-related Learning Disorders. By Robert DePaolo ABSTRACT   This article discusses a remedial method applicable primarily to students with Attention Deficit, but also to students with learning disabilities, autism and other disorders that feature attention and memory deficiencies. It... Comment

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