When you think of a researcher, what do you imagine? This is the opening sentence in the prologue to The Craft of the Research, the book assigned to us within the course of English for Research. This was also the question I asked myself while reading this textbook. I always associated researchers with a group of geeky people in white lab coats, safety glasses and disposable glasses, excitedly working on some experiments or jotting down some terms and equations (I believe it was an influence of Hollywood films on my thinking pattern). It was someone who makes a major breakthrough in his/her field, but can be a nerd with no communication skills whatsoever. The person who has a brilliant mind, but is not physically attractive (As a matter of fact, Discover Magazine recently published the findings of the study that showed a positive correlation between intelligence and looks).
However, now, having entered the academic community of NUGSE, I’m utterly convinced that this stereotypical view of researchers fail to represent the reality. Not only do they look aesthetically pleasing (our MA girls are living proof of it), but they can also engage in diverse activities. Nevertheless, the most important thing I have learnt is that you don’t have to make a major discovery to be a researcher, you can do something small and simple, but if it somehow helps people, if it adds to the literature, you are solving problems in your own small way. Even your little intellectual or practical contribution matters. You know what they say: small actions compound.
So, I hope if there are young people who are deceived by inaccurate representation of researchers, they might now contemplate a career as a researcher. And believe me, in less than a year, research will ingrain in you and be a part of your identity, to the point that you would not be able to recognize when you started “researching” or “considering ongoing ethical issues”:)
What about you? What springs to your mind when you hear the word “researcher”? Do you agree that these negative stereotypes of researchers can dissuade people from pursuing a research career?