So you want to be a researcher..huh? (Part 1)

So you want to be a researcher? Good and Bad….

Wondering why? Then read on..

This is the first of the many parts of series of posts. RememberRemember, the road travelled by a researcher is typical long winding and lonely, therefore you got to keep your music system (read sanity) intact and playing. Read and write as much as possible. Talk, discuss and keep your ears open to anyone offering a free piece of advice or lecture. Its you who has to funnel out what is trash and what is gold.

 The topic that you choose should be carefully picked, because you will have to eat, drink and sleep with that topic for the next 3 years (if you are in bachelor’s degree) or 2 years (if in Master’s) and so forth. When choosing a topic, bear in mind two entities, (1) Is it publishable? (2) Are you in love with it ?

Lets briefly talk about Literature review. I’m sure at some point or the other of your academic career, you were asked to do a literature review. First, why do we do a literature review, simple answer because it will not only tell you what all previous works have been done in your field of study but also if you do this review scientifically then it will be gold else it will be trash. Next question arises, “How to perform a scientific literature review?”, The answer lies in few well articulated text’s like ‘Kitchenham’s review’. Read it, if you want to get published. See collecting research papers up till 10 are OK to manage but it spells doom when you have more than that. I suggest use Endnote or Mendeley. My personal favourite is EndNote. Why? Because it has a utility in it called as ‘Smart group”, which lets you cluster and files similar papers together.

Continuing further, if you don’t have access to specialised databases like IEEExplore or ACM Digital then don’t fret or worry. Google scholar is your best buddy or Microsoft research center, it will help you out. networkingMy suggestion is assuming you don’t have access to a good researched database as above and you wish to publish or make a career for yourself in the research community. In that case, engage yourself in networking with other’s, you might find something useful in Facebook, that’s why i chose to write ‘might find’, but your best bet will be LinkedIn. There, you will find various groups of your topic of interest. And please, if you are using LinkedIn, ensure that you have if not a well written profile than at least a decent one. Once you have read enough using either of the aforementioned means and you can answer to yourself the question that you now know substantial about the topic, only then you should go get yourself a subscription to any of the paid databases. Ahh.. and how could I forget, maintain a blog..its a healthy activity and will keep you happy, trust me…smiles

Well, this is all for now. Do provide your views on it and be well.