A beginner's guide to research

S. M. Rayhanul Islam | Published: May 30, 2019 21:31:21 | Updated: May 30, 2019 21:34:52

The term 'research' brings before us "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications." (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Since the very beginning of human civilisations, research has been given utmost importance. We cannot imagine today's technology-based modern world without the contribution of research. In the academic arena, involvement with research works is given priority for both post-graduate level students and teachers. However, the purpose of research can be a complicated issue and varies across different subjects and disciplines. Research always develops critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, self-confidence, and intellectual independence.

Despite many obstacles prevalent at the universities of Bangladesh, academics and graduate students are engaged in various research works. But most of the young researchers face some challenges before starting their research works. "How an appropriate methodology can be chosen for conducting a research work. Is it possible for me to become a researcher? Who is going to fund my research work?" - These are common problems facing a research beginner in Bangladesh. Another problem is the lack of suitable guidebooks written in Bangla language. In this regard, the book 'Gabeshonay Hatekhodi' is a very timely initiative by the author Dr. Ragib Hasan.

The book is divided into several chapters. In the first chapter, the author focuses on the definition, importance and principles of research. The second chapter discusses a very important issue - research in the context of Bangladesh. It also portrays a gloomy picture of our country's situation in the academic research field.  Free time to devote to research is difficult to find because people who teach at the university level usually have other jobs to fulfil their basic needs. Access to journals, either through internet or print media, is limited. The cost of subscriptions to journals is formidably high. It keeps them remain beyond the reach of these publications. Moreover, the budgets of both individual professionals and university libraries are limited. There are limited resources to support research projects because the sources of funding are so scarce.

In the subsequent chapters of the book, the author gradually discusses the methodology of research - the fundamentals of data collection and analysis skills that researchers need for their first project, as well as a good understanding of the research process as a whole. It covers both quantitative and qualitative methods, and contains lots of real-life examples from the author's own research. The author also discusses the techniques on searching, reading and reviewing the literature, basics of data analysis and research ethics.

Apart from practical research techniques, Dr. Ragib provides a basic explanation of methodological issues such as research planning, the quantitative/qualitative debate and the wider social role of research, linking these to real world issues and examples and the actual task of researching and writing a research report. The author also discusses how funds can be obtained from various sources to finance research works. He draws our attention towards some positive qualities and habits essential to become a good researcher. Patience, honesty, punctuality, perseverance and dedication should be the core values of a researcher. The author concludes his book by giving a home task for the novice researchers which may help the readers to begin their research works.

The author Dr. Ragib Hasan was educated at the BUET in Bangladesh and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in the USA. He is currently working as a faculty at the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA. Dr.  Ragib has made a great contribution to creating the Bengali Wikipedia. He is also the founder of Shikkhok.com - an award-winning free education platform in Bengali language, and the coordinator of the 'BanglaBraille' project, aimed at creating educational material for visually impaired children in South Asia. Written in lucid Bangla language, the book 'Gabeshonay Hatekhodi' is specifically designed for the first-time researchers as well as Master's and Doctoral level students. However, it might be useful for academics as well as independent researchers.


S. M. Rayhanul Islam is an independent researcher.



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