Tag Archives: motivation

Be the change you want to see in the world

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.
–Mother Teresa

Besides generating papers to fulfil academic/professional aspirations, most researchers hope that with time, their papers would gain recognition and that findings would someday have real life implications on the world.

Closely intertwined with the concept of beneficence, it can be difficult for researchers to make that difference amidst the hundreds and thousands of journal articles published each year.

So the question is what now?
How can research feed into policies and support positive change?

These question remains pivotal in the translation of research into action and attempts to answer it often rest on understanding the roles and interactions between the various actors who govern the research to implementation process.

Revolving around the principle that research provides evidence for implementation and practice; many contend that research in action can save lives, reduce poverty and improve levels of well-being.

It however remains a cold hard truth that influencing the implementation of change is far and beyond the reach of most researchers; regardless of the number of times a paper has been cited.
Furthermore, research papers are often technical terms incomprehensible to many policy-makers; making the task of translating research into practice a more challenging one.

Despite the challenges researchers face in the translation of research to practice, it is not improbable or impossible thorough various ways researchers can facilitate this research to implementation process:

  • Reach out to those who implement changes:
    Though shorter non-technical outputs like blogs and posters are rarely recognised or rewarded from an academic’s perspective, it can be a useful avenue for researchers to translate findings into practical and engaging recommendations.
  • Share:
    Talk and share about your research to your friends and family (even if that means talking underwater with a mouthful of marbles)
    You never know who else would your friends and family share that information with and let’s be honest, what could be better than free word-of-mouth advertising?

So join me my fellow researchers.
Dream big, think change, and believe in the ripples you can create.

Be the change you want to see in the world.
-Mahatma Gandhi

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Choices

Choices, choices, choices.
We are all plagued by choices from the time we enter this world till one bites the dust.

Though some researchers have a preference for a particular approach (Qualitative or Quantitative), do we always have to choose?
Or could we make the best out of both?

Given the controversy surrounding the subjectivity of the qualitative approach and the rigidity of the quantitative approach, some researchers posit that the flaws of one approach could be made up for by the benefits of the other; through the mixed methods approach.

So what is the mixed methods approach?
The essential goal of mixed methods approach is to examine a given research question through real-life contextual understandings, multi-level perspectives and cultural influences.

Encompassing rigorous quantitative research methods to assess the magnitude and frequency of constructs, the mixed methods approach also utilizes qualitative methods to explore the meaning and understanding behind them

With the emergence of strategies and tools to blend these different types of data, researchers can now transcend disciplinary boundaries like never before.

Who can use mixed methods research?
Applicable to anyone who wants or needs to tackle a research challenge from two or more perspectives (by deliberate choice or out of practical necessity) will benefit from a mixed methods approach.

The mixed methods approach has most commonly been employed in a variety of disciplines ranging from behavioral studies, psychology and sociology to education and health care to human resources and marketing.

Although a relatively new approach, mixed methods research has been embraced by the scientific community in their practice, academic journals, and major volumes of work like the Sage Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social and Behavioral Research by Abbas Tashakkori and Charles Teddlie.

“…[any] kind of polarized debate has become less than productive. And, it obscures the fact that qualitative and quantitative data are intimately related to each other. All quantitative data is based on qualitative judgments; and all qualitative data can be described and manipulated numerically.”
– William Trochim

Curiosity does not kill the cat


So what if you were never the smartest cookie in the jar?
So what if you’ve been made fun of time and again for asking silly questions that were seen as irrelevant?

Truth is, none of that matters in research.

Chances are there is always someone out there that has thought about the very same things you have thought about, and asked the very same questions you have.

It is the inappropriate, unconventional, seemingly crazy ideas and questions in research that helps push the boundaries of knowledge and progress as a whole.

Not only does it seek to inform action, the manner in which you can relate findings to the larger body of research, the applicability and functionality of findings outside the research community has transcended boundaries and surpassed the expectations of many.

As painful as it has been, the research process has undeniably been extremely liberating; encouraging analytical thought through the exploration of broader implications of research on communities, nations and even the world.

While we have all dreamt about being firemen, princesses or even garbage collectors when we were kids (admit it!), have you ever once thought your curiosity and silly questions could have the potential to change the world and positively influence the lives of others?

I certainly didn’t.

To my fellow researchers,
“Life is not discovery of fate; it is continuous creation of future, through choices of thoughts, feelings and actions in the present.” — Sanjay Sahay