Site Meter

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

research infrastructrure

In some ways, people doing research may do more work than others. You take the problem with you all the time, and you really put a lot of yourself into solving it. The benefit to this may be that you have freedom to pursue something that really interests you, and your work and passion may be aligned.

There's a danger when a field does not have a strong research culture, but still has a research component. If most of the work to be done really isn't research, then what is and isn't research may be confused. A person programming for a company doesn't think of themself as doing research, but rather as problem solving. The difference is that much of the framework is predetermined.

In a field without a strong research infrastructure, one is expected to make the framework oneself, but one will never really do something new, because the information is just badly managed. The problems have already been solved long before. If one is supposed to be doing research, but is really just catching up to where others have already been, or cleaning up old messes, this is not very healthy. Instead, this component should simply be called work, a set of objectives should be set up, and the work divided amongst those doing it.
Summary: if its work and not research, then there need to be very clear goals and it should be finished, even if imperfectly. Depth and creativity and perfection is not well spent on something that cannot support real innovation. Real innovation will look bad at first, and will take awhile to get somewhere and perhaps other people to finish things at a later time. I need to learn to separate research from work. I seem to never quite learn this lesson, and it gets me again and again.

No comments: