Thursday, June 21, 2007

What is research?

What is Research
How is it initiated and managed

This is a hot subject particularly among the students, researchers, public and private people and organizations that have to be involved, find the funds and manage these activities.

There is no accepted definition of what constitutes Research. There are many books and theses written on this subject. The term “Research” has caused a lot of confusion and controversies to students, researchers and people in general. My own idea of what research is, changed with time and experience over the last 55 years. In the process I have made my own definitions of Research to guide me and give me the focus I needed to handle Research as my profession and career. This helped me to compare apples with apples and pears with pears.

What I am going to say on Research is based on my experience as :

* a Ph.D. student
* a Chemist doing routine work and trouble shooting
* Head of Department with responsibilities to provide medical laboratory services to our hospitals.
* Chairman and CEO of SISIR helping our industries grow through provisions of S & T (scientific and technological) and R & D (research and development) services.
* Chairman and CEO of Singapore Science Council to promote R & D activities and S & T manpower development.
* Chairman of private companies where research is required to expand and stay relevant and competitive.
* As an individual working on projects of personal interests.

I have produced a simple chart based on my definition of Research and my classification of the types of research we can do. This has helped me in my work. This chart will be given in the coming articles. With the examples I am going to give it is hoped that some people will find the information useful. Research always starts through a question or problem. How some of the projects were initiated, implemented and managed differ from case to case. These are information many have asked me for many times in my life.

Lee Kum Tatt

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