A Beginner’s Guide to Research

S. M. Rayhanul Islam
Wednesday, January 25th, 2017


 

(Gabeshanay Hatekhadri by Ragib Hasan, Published by Mamun Or Rashid of Adarsha, 176, Fakirerpool, Dhaka-1000, First Published in February, 2015, ISBN: 978-984-8875-88-9, Pages 91)

 

Research comprises “creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications” (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). From the very beginning of human civilization, research has been given utmost importance. We cannot imagine today’s technology-based modern world without the contribution of research. In the academic arena, involving research works is given priority for both post-graduate level students and teachers. However, the purpose of research can be a complicated issue and varies across different subjects and disciplines. Research always develops critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, self confidence, and intellectual independence.

 

With many obstacles prevalent in the Universities of Bangladesh, academics and graduate students are engaged in various research works. But, most of the young researchers always face some challenges before starting their research works. “How an appropriate methodology can be chosen for conducting a research work. Is it possible for me to become a researcher? Who is going to fund my research work?” – These are very common problems faced by a beginner. Another problem is the lack of suitable guide book written in Bangla language. In this regard, the book ‘Gabeshanay Hatekhadri’ is a very timely initiative by the author Dr. Ragib Hasan.

 

The book is divided into several chapters. In the first chapter, the author focuses on the definition, importance and principles of research. The second chapter discusses a very important issue – research in the context of Bangladesh. It also portrays a gloomy picture of our country’s situation in the academic research field. Time to devote to research is difficult to find because people who teach at the university level usually have other jobs to fulfill their basic needs. Access to journals, either by internet or in print, is limited. The cost of subscriptions to journals makes them beyond the reach of the budgets of both individual professionals and university libraries. There are limited resources to support research projects because sources of funding are so scarce.

 

In the subsequent chapters of the book, the author gradually discusses the methodology of research – the fundamentals of data collection and analysis skills that researchers need for their first project, as well as a good understanding of the research process as a whole. It covers both quantitative and qualitative methods, and contains lots of real-life examples from the author’s own research. The author also discusses the techniques on searching, reading and reviewing the literature, basics of data analysis and research ethics.

 

Apart from practical research techniques, Dr. Ragib provides a basic explanation of methodological issues such as research planning, the quantitative/qualitative debate and the wider social role of research, linking these to real world issues and examples and the actual task of researching and writing a research report. The author also discusses how funds can be obtained from various sources to finance the research works. He draws our attention towards some positive qualities and habits essential to become a good researcher. Compassion, patience, honesty, punctuality, perseverance and dedication should be the core values of a researcher. The author concludes his book by giving a home task for the novice researchers which helps the readers to begin their research works.

 

Dr. Ragib Hasan was educated at the BUET in Bangladesh and University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in the USA. He is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA where he leads the ‘Secure and Trustworthy Computing Lab (SECRETLab)’. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins University.  Dr.  Ragib has made a great contribution in creating Bengali Wikipedia. He is also the founder of Shikkhok.com — an award-winning free education platform in Bengali language, and the coordinator of the ‘BanglaBraille’ project, aimed at creating educational material for visually impaired children in South Asia. Written in lucid Bangla language, the book ‘Gabeshanay Hatekhadri’ is specifically designed for the first time researchers as well as Master’s and Doctoral students. However, it is also useful for academics as well as independent researchers.

 

The writer is an independent researcher. E-mail: smrayhanulislam@hotmail.com

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