Wobbly researcher!

Well – my last post about whether or not I can be truthful when blogging (thanks Mike and John for your comments) was all to do with whether or not I’m up to being a researcher. Somehow – I’m not quite sure how – but in the last 12 months or so (when I should be retiring!), I suddenly find myself involved in research – and its hard!

Today I decided I would do a quick internet search on ‘What makes a good researcher’ – to check on whether I’m up to this or whether I should just jack in the towel! According to my quick search (and can we really believe in what we read on the internet?) a good researcher is:

  • curious
  • persistent
  • open-minded
  • dedicated
  • attends to detail
  • ethical
  • enthusiastic
  • asks ‘what if’ questions
  • has drive
  • likes writing/can write (depends a bit on the audience)
  • knows whether the research is relevant

So far so good! But then we have

  • good imagination (never been a strength!)
  • positive (not always – very up and down, black and white, bit of a pendulum swinger really)
  • not afraid of failure (what? – fear of failure has driven my whole career!)
  • objective (I would like to think I am, but in reality I’m not sure)
  • informed (try to be, but I have a memory like a sieve – getting worse with age!)
  • critical thinker (it depends on what we’re thinking about – I can be very criticial when required :-))
  • knows the subject matter (as above)

And then we come to the crunch

  • Synthesiser (only with difficulty)
  • Analyser (depends on the context)
  • Can extract large amounts of information from large amounts of literature (with difficulty)

I’m not exploring any more of this last list – too depressing 🙂

So – just to reiterate – research is hard – for me! I have a number of friends who just seem to churn out the papers as if there’s nothing to it. What do they know that I don’t!

5 thoughts on “Wobbly researcher!

  1. Carmen Tschofen March 24, 2009 / 6:37 pm

    Hmm… and if I Googled “what makes a good teacher/facilitator/parent, etc.” I suspect I could come up with the same list 🙂 I wonder if the “hard” part of anything might come at least in part from it’s newness, rather than from the absolute nature of the task? (I’ve been playing with creating short videos…now there”s a whole new thought process for me!) I’d certainly say that a researcher needs to be deliberate/metacognitive in process… so, even without knowing the work, I’d suspect you’re right on track!


  2. jennymackness March 25, 2009 / 8:04 pm

    Hi Carmen – thanks for your comment. ‘Newness’ – yes I think you are right. And I think teachers/facilitators would fit – because they tend to research their own practice all the time. Parents too, probably, although I had never thought about this before.
    Thanks for the supportive comments. Much appreciated.

  3. suifaijohnmak March 26, 2009 / 7:59 am

    Hi Jenny,
    Great to learn your views in this open space. I have responded to you on another space….
    You have all the points checked – 5/5 (LOL). As for me, I am not afraid of failure, and I am a dreamer! I am always positive (I think) 🙂 Will it require a combination of team players with different skills and such mindsets to complement each other?

    Would you mind (you or me) posting this on our space as a checklist for us to try? That would show who has got what? And that may be very interesting to see. Again a scale of 5/5 (strongly disagree 1 to Strongly agree 5) for each item would allow us to see the impact of these. We will know how it works. Good fun.

    Exciting! isn’t it?
    Many thanks.

  4. jennymackness March 27, 2009 / 5:21 pm

    Hi John – do you mean ‘on our space’ on our research wiki? Yes – that’s fine. It would add to all the other fun tests we’ve got on there. Very entertaining!

  5. Sui Fai John Mak March 28, 2009 / 4:24 am

    Hi Jenny,
    Yes, our research wiki please.
    Do you want to load it there or you would like me to do it?
    I think I would respect your decision as this is your creation. Just let me know please.
    Very entertaining.

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