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An Insight into a Researcher’s Life: Expectations vs. Reality


Being a researcher – what kind of picture does that conjure up in your mind? Is your imagination – like that of most others – full of constant breakthroughs, unearthing truths and dauntless experiments? Well then, this post is going to prove an eye-opener, and jolt you into the grim realities of the research world! It will familiarize you with the strenuous hardships scholars go through, and make a case for the importance of professional research and publication support services. After all, small investment for the sake of your research aspirations is no bad trade-off.

To acknowledge the truth, yes there will be those beloved marvel moments when you would discover what no one else has discovered. But, before reaching that flagbearer-of-knowledge-moment, the journey won’t be a duck soup – everything will come at a cost! Now, let’s dig deeper into the astounding differences between expectations and reality for scientists with precise explanations.

Expectation 1: You’ll make groundbreaking discoveries every day!

Reality: Research takes time.

While it is true that research work involves making revelations, in reality, the path leading to those revelations is roundabout. Researchers carry out a series of small experiments, surveys or studies before reaching the point of publishing their hypothesis. Not to forget – each of these constituent surveys or studies can be strenuous, and time-consuming. In most cases, your efforts will depend on your research methodologies, area of research, subject matter and the object of investigation (anything from populations, living animals to chemicals), which together could stretch the process for weeks, months or longer. Add to this, imaging, data collection and statistical analysis that may have to be undertaken parallely. Yet, each of these experiments and surveys would add up as pieces of evidence to form a researcher’s hypothesis, and hence be inevitable.

Expectation 2: Your research findings will change the world!

Reality: Change is gradual.

Scholars are often tempted to imagine that their thesis will test the limits of a given area of research. At times, they may feel their research ambitions soaring high uncontrollably, and may envisage impossible happenings in their head. But the truth is that although each research endeavor is a contribution to its particular area of investigation, it by means makes a quantum leap. New knowledge takes time to bring about an upheaval; its changes manifested little by little, over time. Nevertheless, each step is as important and worthy of recognition, as the collective output.

Expectation 3: You can be as innovative as you want!

Reality: Protocols have to be followed.

Yes, research involves making novel discoveries. But if you think that grants you the leeway to be as innovative as you want to be, you need to think again. Research requires practicing time-honored, well-established techniques. Scholars need to be familiar with the protocol lest their findings turn out to be flawed and futile for the future generations who will carry out research in that domain. To be precise, a thorough understanding of the conventional methodologies is necessary to undertake your research work successfully.

Expectation 4: Publishing your research would be easy once the findings have been made!

Reality: Publishing is no cakewalk.

Several challenges come in the way for scholars aiming to publish their research work. There are barriers pertaining to scientific and technical concerns, language and grammatical rules, and other norms of the publication industry. To begin with, selecting an appropriate journal is the first predicament. Aspirants need to opt for the correct publisher, category and target audience who will appreciate their research findings. Quality of the content has to be upheld to avoid paper rejections and wastage of cost, time and effort, especially in case of paid publications. Knowledge of prestigious journals in various academic fields is also crucial to reap maximum benefits for your research efforts and investment.

Expectation 5: Writing your manuscript would be exciting!

Reality: Manuscript composition is a taxing task.

Publication houses may demand your research paper to match certain style and formatting guidelines. Consequently, you may have to painstakingly rewrite and edit huge chunks of the paper and eliminate all linguistic and grammatical errors. The sophistication, locale, style, complexity and tone of the language, as well as fonts, margins, formatting, outline and consistency of the manuscript will have to be befitting. Next come concerns surrounding plagiarism and copyright infringements. Your content must be authentic and free from the blemishes of plagiarism. Remember that journals follow stringent screening processes for academic publishing, such that even similarities may get you caught. Authors need to avoid this by duly accrediting all the sources of their information, and clearly enlisting all the citations.

Expectation 6: Research involves a great deal of field work!

Reality: Field work depends on your specific academic field.

Field work may be an essential part of research, but it happens occasionally. Rest of the time, scholars are reading papers, writing or analyzing the samples collected in the field. In practical terms, this means a lot of drudgery in the job as you may have to deal with mammoth statistics, data, information and extant literature, until your mind is overwhelmed and spirit exhausted. Scholars wade through colossal documents, spreadsheets and other research papers to cull out the contents of their manuscript. In short, the task is more tedious than it seems.

Expectation 7: You can undertake whatever research you want!

Reality: You need someone to pay for your scientific and academic pursuits.

Aspirants can pursue whatever research their supervisors and grant funders want them to. Research funding is necessary to financially back your endeavors and scholars have a hard time writing grant applications for various institutions, governments and trusts.

Bottom line

Research is an immense learning experience that expands the horizons of your mind and makes you self-sufficient. However, it involves humongous work and multiple challenges before you succeed in getting to the point.

Naïveté may not work. It is advisable that aspirants rely on professionals’ help to reduce their legwork, focus better on their research work, and gain competitive edge with experts’ mentorship.

For example, various organizations provide end-to-end manuscript reviewing, editing and formatting services to increase the prospects of successful peer review and publication. Experts will even select the suitable journal, make your article comply with the journal’s guidelines, submit your paper and respond to reviewers to ease your publication struggles. Comprehensive plagiarism detection and refining of the language will enhance the quality of output further. Finally, you can bank on their data analysis and market research support services for statistical analysis, result interpretation, data collection and compiling requirements of your manuscript. This will also make your research findings data-rich and more insightful.

Similarly, project proposals and grant writing guidance services are offered to up your chances of securing grant funds from governments, foundations or trusts.

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