Research with Bobby
Research is akin to the discovery of the atom, we chip away at the immense unknown, slowly revealing the fundamental truths within. As your mentor, I encourage you to think of your journey in a similar manner. It’s not about ticking boxes or following a pre-set path, it’s about pushing the boundaries of what we know, daring to question, and having the courage to explore new territories. We’re not just solving problems and writing papers; we’re living and breathing the questions that haven’t been asked yet. We’re on a journey of discovery and I’m here to help guide you, not dictate your steps.
My role in your journey is much like that of a guide. I am here not to lead, but to provide the tools necessary for you to forge your own path. I will be your sounding board, your critical reviewer, and your unwavering supporter. I’m here to provide perspective, to challenge your assumptions, and to celebrate your triumphs. Remember, we are on this journey together, and I believe in the power of collective minds working towards a common goal.
Our group operates under a few simple philosophies. Firstly, we believe in the power of open discourse. Disagreements are not just welcome, they are necessary for the growth of ideas. Secondly, we value respect and integrity. We are not just researchers, but people first. Treat others with kindness and honesty, and expect the same in return. Lastly, we strive for excellence, not perfection. The pursuit of knowledge is messy and full of missteps. Embrace them, for they are an integral part of the journey.
Your time in this group is an investment in your future. It is your opportunity to explore, to learn, and to grow. It is not just about completing a dissertation, but about becoming a scholar. As such, I ask for your commitment to not just the tasks at hand, but to the larger goal of contributing to the body of knowledge in our field.
What to expect
To begin this journey, I encourage you to immerse yourself in the literature. Familiarize yourself with the current state of knowledge, the key players in the field, and the unanswered questions. From there, you can begin to carve out your own niche in the research landscape.
Once you have a grasp on your research direction, we can begin to strategize the steps forward. This involves identifying key research questions, developing a methodological approach, and setting a timeline for execution. Remember, the path to discovery is not a straight line, but a winding road full of surprises. Be ready to adapt, to pivot, and to persevere.
Focus on problems, not solutions
Research is not about finding solutions in search of problems. It’s about finding problems that need solutions. I encourage you to develop a keen eye for odd phenomena, gaps in knowledge, contradictions—signs that a model or theory may be broken. Curiosity about problems, not solutions, is what drives discovery.
Connect ideas across disciplines
The dance floor of research is vast and extends beyond the boundaries of your own field. Some of the most exciting research happens in the space between disciplines, where the music of one field resonates with the rhythm of another. So, read widely, attend talks outside your domain, and connect ideas across disciplines. You never know where the next breakthrough might come from.
Prototypes over perfection
We’re not here to polish one perfect demo. We’re here to create a parade of prototypes. Testing rough prototypes early, even if they’re limited or flawed, can provide vital feedback to evolve an idea. Perfectionism can be the enemy of progress. So, let’s march forward with our prototypes, learn from them, and iterate.
Depth of understanding is often marked by the ability to explain complex ideas in simple terms. So, let’s strive for simplicity and elegance in our explanations. Ask yourself, “How would I explain this to a bright high school student?” If you can do that, you’re on the right track.
I encourage you to never shy away from questioning the status quo. Conventional wisdom is not always wise, and sometimes, the foundational assumptions in a field need to be questioned and critiqued. Your fresh perspective can help identify implicit assumptions that veterans no longer notice. It’s these questions that often lead to the biggest breakthroughs.
Welcome to the world of research. It is a world full of wonder, challenge, and immense reward. It is a journey that will shape you as much as you shape it. I look forward to embarking on this journey with you, and seeing where the pursuit of knowledge leads us.