Once a layman (Lay) went to a self glorified mediocre professor (Prof). He was curious to know what does the word ‘research’ mean. This Prof himself had very little experience of doing research (some 4 years or so). Thus they had some interesting conversation –
Lay : I know ‘Google Search’….how is research different from that?
Prof (smiling) : Well, they are not very different. Research means to search again and again. Say for example, first you searched about ‘something’ and you got some search result. Then you click on that result and search further and so on.
Lay (confused) : But that’s precisely my point. What is that a researcher does differently, sitting in his closed room, that I can’t do while sitting comfortably on my couch with iPad in my hand?
Prof : Mr. Lay, you are not getting my point. What I do is I search about ideas and concepts while you search images and videos. Research is all about creativity and innovation.
Lay (utterly confused) : Sir, but it takes lot of creativity to make a good movie or song. Anyways, tell me sir, I have heard professors using the word ‘analysis’ very often. What is this ‘analysis’?
Prof (serious mood) : Analysis means thinking properly through a situation or a problem.
Lay (confused) : But Sir…I do that ..and most others like me also do that …every now and then. So…
Prof (offensive tone) : You do that without ‘data’. That’s why you are not able to come to a ‘correct’ conclusion. You take hasty decisions and that’s the reason your ‘logic’ is ‘inappropriate’.
Lay (perturbed) : Data reminds me of statistics. I’m very weak in all this maths and stats…
Prof (aggressively) : Then you forget research. You prefer writing essays or at the best start writing some random blogs.
Lay (sadly) : But Sir, I have curiosity. I have zeal. I have pertinent interest in knowing how various systems in this world work. Will I not get any chance?
Prof (softly) : Unfortunately, nobody will listen to you. What you write will be judged only on accepted parameters of research by accomplished scholars. Why don’t you write Poetry or Drama. That’s a good career too!
Lay (disheartened) – Sir, I think I better continue to ‘work’ and earn my living. Also I am happy with ‘Google Search’. Again and again. But one last question (in ticklish mood)..Yeh ‘Bell Curve’ kya hota hai?
Prof (laughs aloud) : Dekho Bell matlab ‘Ghanta’ …kuch nahi…bus ek curve hai jo ‘normal’ logo ke samjah ke bahar hai… I am getting late…I have to ‘publish’ something to make my mark on people like you (laughs louder)…
Lay to himself (irritated) : It was a stupid mistake to meet this Prof…I should have done some research before meeting him!