ACADEMICS WITH WUNMI: 5 COMMON RESEARCH MISTAKES
Written by: Wunmi Kayode ACA
Hello Good People!
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To the ‘topic’ of the day, in this post I will be considering the common research mistakes we make as researchers.
‘Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war’- Donald Trump.
So stop hating on yourself for not getting it right in the past.
- DATA MANIPULATION: I was once a victim here, ‘adjusting’ your data and result to make it look like what you want or think it should be. It’s data remember not information, it’s still in its raw form, it’s to be used just the way it is and whatever result gotten after processing is the true representation of data. In research, there’s no right or wrong answer, the answer is not to be predetermined. The reason you’re ‘researching’ is because you don’t know the answer, if the answer is known beforehand then it’s not research. Don’t be ‘afraid’ to present your true result, just explain whatever result you’ve got critically and advisably support with existing literature.
- HIRING SOMEONE TO DO IT FOR YOU INSTEAD OF DIY: A lot of students are quite familiar with this. One of the major things you need to excel in research is to engage ‘smart-work’. ‘Smart work’ not only applies to research but all academic endeavours. This is what these ‘research helpers’ know. It’s not their field but yet they present you with a ‘good’ project at the end of the day. Note that not doing your academic research work yourself makes you incapable of defending the result thus not suitable for maximizing the benefits that is embedded in research.
- PLAGIARISM (PUBLISHED OR CO-STUDENTS WORKS): Plagiarism is copying someone’s work or idea without acknowledgement and presenting it as your work/idea. Plagiarism comes with negative consequences more often than not. The thought that some past researchers are better than us is not totally true. These past researchers have documented their ideas and opinions, dare to document your own ideas too. Until you make those ideas plain in writing, they may seem ‘lame’ in the head. To be honest we all have excellence in us, all we need do is to release it. Someone once said how to overcome fear is to do that thing you fear.
- LACK OF ORIGINALITY: It’s not that students don’t actually have the ideas, but quite a lot are not optimistic with their ideas nor are they willing to dare to be different. More often, in the process of trying to refine original ideas to soothe the trend or your supervisor, you lose the originality of the work as a whole. What most students don’t know is, supervisors actually want you to you sell your ideas to them, that is, make them see through your ‘lenses’. It’s no crime for your work to have its limitations, it’s part of the originality.
- POOR EXPRESSION: Grammatical blunders, inability to express oneself without ambiguity or bias to existing literature. Poor expression could also imply ‘moving in circles about your opinion’ rather than ‘hitting the nail on the head’. What this does is to erode the originality of your idea and aim of study. Don’t be apologetic about your opinion. I remember this was an area I had to consciously work on while writing my masters’ thesis. I was trying to hide ‘behind a finger’ in expressing my opinion. A colleague of mine went through my work and observed this, the review was indeed helpful.
SO HOW CAN THESE BE MINIMIZED?
- Engage research (academic endeavour) with the right mind-set, this eases out a lot of mental stress. Check the post for mind-set HERE.
- Learn to express yourself and opinion in your own words without ambiguity.
- Write down your ideas, writing makes things plain and easy to relate with. Thinking is good, writing your thoughts is better!
- Develop your own idea. Be Original with your thoughts.
- Acknowledge any other person’s idea used in your work.
- Give trusted and intelligent individuals your work to review.
- Be honest with your data results and presentation.
- Get more familiar with academic literatures, this helps in critical reasoning and gets you more acquainted with the style of academic writing.
- Check out references acknowledged in selected materials you’ve chosen to read, this gives better understanding of the subject matter.
- Be sure about the data you require for your study, getting your data right gives you confidence in your result.
Till I Come your way again,
Let’s stay Winning,
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The Education segment of the blog is one where you can find resources as a student/prospective one to help you succeed academically. Periodic posts would be published ranging from advice to questions and resources, all of which readily available to help you. I wish you all the best in your academic endeavours- Tosin Alabi( editor)