|Year : 2021 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 1-2
The science of research and the joy of discovery
Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala, India
|Date of Submission||21-Jan-2021|
|Date of Acceptance||22-Jan-2021|
|Date of Web Publication||19-Apr-2021|
Dr. V Sudha
Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Sudha V. The science of research and the joy of discovery. Kerala J Ophthalmol 2021;33:1-2
“Good research is not learned in books, but at the bench, like the crafts in the Middle Ages.”
Christian de Duve
Discovery requires research, and research implies exploring the unknown. Research conducted for the purpose of contributing toward science by the systematic collection, interpretation, and evaluation of data and that, too, in a planned manner is called scientific research. The scientific method should be precise, replicable, and logical.
The scientific method was originally called the “Baconian method” as British philosopher Francis Bacon was the first to suggest that knowledge can only be derived from observations in the real world. From the actual observations, hidden concepts and patterns are identified. Research involves moving back and forth from these observations to a theoretical plane where the observations are converted to theories. This skill to transform observations into a hypothesis takes years to develop.
Intrinsic motivation is the fuel to sustain research. The joy of research in science derives from the excitement of discovery. As children, we start with a natural curiosity about everything around us. Unfortunately, as we grow up, this curiosity gets severely blunted by our responsibilities and environmental experiences. To destroy this natural curiosity or to attenuate the joy of discovery is the greatest disservice we do to the developing person. Why are so few of our capable students pursuing the level of education required for a successful research career? We have failed to promote the excitement and exhilaration of discovery.
It has been noted that medical trainees are essentially tested on their knowledge and skills base, but that this is inevitably incomplete at the point that they are qualified, there is thus a need for medical education to maintain curiosity, to drive lifelong learning. In a study among clinicians at various stages of the neurosurgical career, the top three perceived barriers to conducting research were lack of time (78%), insufficient access to funding (58%), and lack of mentorship (49%). Despite these, more than 87% of participants were interested in formal academic roles with 58% willing to interrupt clinical training to pursue research opportunities. Similarly in the UK, in a study conducted among geriatric medicine trainees, the majority (70%) indicated that they have no clear idea of a topic to research, 64% did not know how to develop an idea, and 62% indicated that they did not know how to get funding.
So what needs to be done to regain that lost curiosity and the joyous feeling when we achieve some targets? Pattern recognition, analytical thinking, and similar abilities need to be stimulated. Research exposure increases understanding of clinical medicine; facilitates critical thinking and critical appraisal; improves prospects of successful application for postgraduate training, grants, and high-impact publications; develops teamwork skills; and increases exposure to the best clinical minds. However, we need to stress on the fact that beyond these job opportunities, research when it produces results gives a satisfaction and pride beyond mere words. Discoveries made especially in the health sector have a direct impact on improving the quality of life of so many other individuals.
The research mentor program provides an excellent opportunity for participants to experience how fulfilling, rewarding, and exciting research can be, and to expose them to the many facets of the research world. A good research mentor enables us to see the big picture of the research. The experience helps to bridge the gap between the tedium of research and the excitement of discovery and progress. With this in mind, The Kerala Journal of Ophthalmology starts the New Year with a new Research Mentorship Program. To ultimately share the message,” Research is Exciting.”
| References|| |
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