Find your pot of gold in research

S. Rashmi

S. Rashmi  

COMPARING Ronald Reagan with M.G. Ramachandran is the kind of subject biographers or analysts would love. It would, after all, involve a close study of events, incidents, personalities and speeches. There would be patterns emerging, comparisons, contrasts and similarities.

Looking at the obvious and identifying the not-so-obvious is the job of the researcher. As the information society emerges, powered by digital storage and analytical tools, a vast new world is opening up for the researcher.

The equipment he needs is the ability to interpret statistically, produce models, forecast and intelligently analyse facts.

Research and documentation is finding increasing application in a variety of fields. Out of the public view, those involved in it sift through reams of data.

It could be a subject as eclectic as the therapeutic effect of dehydrated lotus petals on diabetic patients or television channels reorienting their strategies, based on a sophisticated analysis of viewer preferences, to increase advertisement revenue.

New job prospects in research areas for students are emerging. Students who specialise in certain areas stand a brighter chance of scoring over their competitors.

A wrong choice or a poor grade in the research paper would mean the difference between pursuing further studies in a prestigious university or being preferred for a post in any company, says S. Karunanidhi, senior professor of Psychology and registrar, Madras University.

For those who have launched themselves into research, it is a long road ahead with mountains of hard work, be it the undergraduate or postgraduate level of study. ``Research promotes career prospects apart from enhancing one's competency and skills,'' adds Dr. Karunanidhi.

As societal trends become more complex and technological development leads to information overload, specially equipped personnel are required to understand and identify the influence of various factors related to particular social issues.

M. Sowmya

M. Sowmya  

Health is a major area for medical research, as not just policies but the prospects of several pharmaceutical companies and medicare institutions depend on refined data.

M. Sowmya, pursuing a postgraduate programme in a city college on food and nutrition, hopes her research on assessing the nutritional status of a newborn as well as expecting women will brighten her chances for a job in a corporate hospital or for higher studies abroad.

Another research scholar, S. Rashmi, studying the therapeutic effect of dehydrated lotus petals on diabetics is confident that the research would help her make a career in a hospital.

``Setting new standards in child health'' is S. Teena Devi's goal. With a research programme under way on the development of infants in Chennai, Teena hopes her results would serve as an indicator for government authorities to take remedial measures in the health sector.

S. Teena Devi

S. Teena Devi  

The Internet has created a seemingly limitless universe of its own, expanding the vision of a global village articulated by Marshall Mcluhan, with young scholars having the advantage of databases available at the click of the mouse.

A major advantage for students doing research in Chennai is the abundance of physical resources too, says K. Niraimathi, who is working on the psychosocial well-being of aged persons for her doctoral thesis.

Review material is vital for good research. The next time you visit a college campus and find students talking about media effects or hot and cold media, don't get surprised, they are probably those who would be redefining the role of mass media in the future.

For a start on the whole gamut of issues in research, it is a good idea to talk to faculty specialising in research methodology at any college. In many cases, bright students opt to continue their studies into the research level, often treating it as a career in itself.

The availability of fellowships from various institutions is a critical factor for them.

S. Shivakumar

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