28 July 2011

Research and Impact

Whenever one starts a new activity or challenge in life it affects the person who undertook it.  This change can happen in small ways or large ways but it happens.  Then how does research fall into this catagory?  Most people, when they think about research and scientists consider an image of a man who is middle aged or older with some facial hair who's unkempt, wearing a white lab coat, and typically with scientific instruments or equipment, books, filing cabinets along with some phrase like eureka or formulae (here is a study that includes a section on the public image of scientists).  However there is so much more to scientists, where they work and who they are.  An example would be the lab in which the current project is being worked on.  Professor Han's lab is filled with diverse people who all enjoy their research but also enjoy other activities as well.  In terms of research, while it does involve a lot of work as well as books, equipment, and filing cabinets to keep everything organized and perform experiments, there is so much more to research.  It involves a creative mind to approach problems and it involves a lot of cooperation and collaboration, research is social.

Having entered a research lab, one learns more about scientists, research, and one's own competence in research.  After one has entered a lab, worked in it, and had the chance to assimilate, a wonderful event occurs.  Research can be done!  The trick with research is to endure, be open and willing to learn, and to try one's best.  If this is done then a niche can be made in the lab.  Research is definitely challenging but so are numerous other things.  It is a great experience to enter a lab and to then develop a sense of competence through such an experience.

The research experience can be brought to the classroom as well, a way to disseminate information.  Research is a mix of times of patience and hardwork and times of problem solving and creativity.  Having moments in the classroom with problem based learning is a way to convey some of the ideas involved with research in the classroom.  These introduce problems and then encourage creative and critical thinking just as research does in a lab.  Another way is to have moments that require looking up information and then critically considering the information, not just to write down every fact that appears but to analyze and filter it.  Just like in research, it is important to know which information is pertinant for a project.  Bringing in ideas and topics in modern day research is way to bring research to the classroom while connecting to the present day and making information more modern.

There is a lot involved with research and it is a fun and extraordinary journey to explore.

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