My Research Journey: Imagined a pleasant walk in the garden, turned out to be a marathon with hurdles
I still remember the sense of excitement, when I was heading for the first meeting with my guide to discuss my research topic. Thought of learning the research skills and possibility of discovering something new made me restless with excitement. Initial discussions were about my interest area of research, existing evidence and gaps in the existing evidence, possible research questions we should pursue etc. My excitement levels were further enhanced..
Once we finalized our research question things have taken a sudden turn away from science.
Appropriateness of the language and proper construction of statements with good English was the first task. Then I had to contact the statistician and work with a sample size calculator tool to determine my experiment design and suitable sample size I had to download and start using a “reference management” software as I had to provide citation and write bibliography in a particular style My draft proposals used to come back from my mentor with few scientific inputs and lot of inputs on spelling, grammar and language.
I felt somewhere science was taking the backseat..
It didn’t stop there..I had to master spreadsheet, a statistical tool for data analysis, had to learn some document process skills ..all very unpleasant and with a steep learning curve. Was at mercy of statisticians multiple times.. With every encounter ending like a conversation between “Donald Trump” and an illiterate villager from a non-English speaking country..we never understood each other.. After a while I could see the science only from a distance as I was struggling to master these multiple essential tools of research ..not critical thinking..not experimental skills in lab..not deep scientific aspects of my subject..but primarily “a bunch of unrelated software tools”
I was crying ..
Can someone simplify these technical aspects of conducting research? So that I can focus more on my science…