When reality proves you wrong

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?

4 thoughts on “When reality proves you wrong

  1. Akma, thanks for sharing with your viewpoints about research world. Due to the fact that we studied together before in the same university, where we did not even hear about the word “research”, I had the same vision about research. I also thought that it is only about sitting in the laboratory doing some mysterious research) Now I have changed my mind as well. Good luck with your thesis writing.


  2. Akalya77, many thanks for such a motivating post. I agree with you that small things matter. Our life comprises of them, right? Especially, for a young researcher it is crucial to know that he or she can do research at their own pace investigating some simple concepts. This will allow them taste research and later on conduct bigger ones.


  3. Super work, Akmaral.

    You’ve done a nice job starting from the class text, considering the question from your own perspective, and then turning the question to your peers. Your writing is skillful and original. Nice work!



  4. Dear Akalya, thanks for sharing your ‘discoveries’ about the ‘researcher’, and this is fantastic! I also have been influenced by the old stereotype of a researcher as ‘crazy creature in the world’ and this misperception have prevented me from evening imagining myself as pursuing career in academic field. We can see the misperceptions which are often instilled unconsciously can exert tremendous impact on one’s life. Thus, it is necessary to reflect on the underlying misperceptions or ‘stereotype’ or ‘beliefs’ we have in our minds, otherwise these would affect our lives from tiny daily choices to the ‘fatal’ directions.


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