‘If you steal from one author its plagiarism; if you steal from many its research.’ said Wilson Mizner, reportedly…! Even if Researcher’s could leave the humor in this (over?) statement out of the context (a tough job, though!) for a while, it definitely sets a tone for a discussion that could take the very concept of ‘Research’ to another level, I believe. If any enthusiast decides to take up a research on the process of Research itself, he or she would encounter many established terminologies in the Research glossary right from ‘Baseline’ to ‘White paper’ that will try to teach the curious mind something called ‘Research Methodology’, another thing that scares the infants apart from Mathematics, I guess!
Well, if I have just made a bold, nonconformist statement and opened a debate that could get real noisy, believe me, I did it on intention… no regrets! Now, why I say this and do I need to criticize the method and process of ‘Research’ set by our intelligent ancestors (Read: Scholars), could be another topic of discussion, I would just use the principle of relativity and apply it to the premise of this discussion to keep it concise, short and, most importantly, on track! After all, ‘Space and Time both are relative’ determined The Great Einstein, didn’t he? This same Legendary Einstein also said that, ‘I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.’, if I remember it right.
There is ever-evolving data omnipresent in the universe that could be sensed by the conscious mind. If extracted and analyzed with some preset patterns and processed for usability, it becomes the Information. [Fuzzy logic – This process of transforming data into information has gained tremendous popularity in recent years and collectively termed as ‘Computing’ that became the largest industry of the millennium while leading to ‘Big Data’ and ‘IoT’, the new-age giants; whether they are the blessings or boons, is beyond the perception of the human intellect at this point, however!] When the information is further analyzed, scrutinized, distinguished and authorized for archival in a structured way for future use with a vision, it becomes the knowledge. This process of collecting data, extract information from it and develop new knowledge is generally termed as ‘study’ and it becomes ‘research’ only when it is done with a specific ‘objective’ that is supposed to offer a ‘solution’ to some ‘situation’.
Discovery is something that happens to the researcher while he or she is at the Research trying to figure out what is the scenario and what could be the probable solution. In that sense, ‘Discovery’ is more natural and close to the inherent process of learning in which the human brain is conditioned naturally while ‘Research’ is more deliberate and imposed. This doesn’t make the research any inferior or the discovery superior as both of them are ‘applied’ in one way or other and not ‘inspired’ as I expect the process of search within. The pure knowledge could be developed only with unattached experimental exploration and not with the calculative scientific readings alone. It should not be a surprise then that the major knowledge gained by the humanity, which could be termed as collective wisdom, is more of cultural and philosophical nature than scientific and rational type.
Wait a minute… where is this leading? Ah, to the conclusion that I am eager to draw from the theory I have developed on purpose to support my discovery! Let me take you back to our beloved Einstein and his expression about talent. If we try to simplify (not ‘amplify’; let us leave it to the politicians as they would be jobless without it!) his expression, it simply means that to access new type of data, convert it into useful information and develop a knowledge-base out of it basically requires curiosity… plain, simple, innocent and passionate curiosity without any attachment or even any objective – just for the joy of exploring something, by keeping an account of what you encounter en route.
Not until the humans understand it better that no Research or Discovery is good enough that is initiated without pure curiosity, the Grey Matter will hardly influence the White Paper that is the ultimate outcome of any Research for that matter…! When subject becomes the experience and methodology is replaced by realization, there, in that eureka moments, miracles happens and epiphanies are witnessed.
Way to go…!