Quaestio: research analytics

I thought of calling this blog ‘How to do research’ but that is asking too much, though there will be some advice here. ‘Thinking about research’ is better. I then thought I would try something more anonymous for ‘research’ and the shortest Latin synonym is ‘quaestio’, which then retranslates (via Google) as: questioning, inquiring, seeking, searching and scrutinising – and all of that seems to set some good objectives. So here is ‘Quaestio’ with attempts to unpick what research is about, and particularly what makes good research.

The ‘How to….’ question troubles me as I keep thinking about what to tackle next myself. The categorical imperative kicks in here: if I can respond to that question reasonably well, it may be worth passing on. But the challenge, as the mathematicians would say, is non-trivial. The converse of the drive to be positive, to do good research, has an opposite: how to avoid the uninteresting, the unimportant, and the trivial: there is too much of this, evidenced by the tiny number of citations to the vast bulk of published papers, and so I will try to offer some polemics as well. On the positive side, I will quickly reveal my own biases, so apologies in advance for that.

The first six topics are

Click on the topics for access

Then there will be something of a jumble of topics – attempting to record the challenges of doing research. Examples are

  • Real challenges
  • Following fashion
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Adding depth: a ‘CERN’ for the social sciences
  • Excellence
  • Cominatorial evolution
  • Learning from history
  • ‘Research on’ vs ‘research for’

These will emerge at roughly weekly intervals!

Alan Wilson, April 2015

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