Learning whilst researching

One of the great things about research is that you learn new things. You might find out how many ants there are in the world, or which book has a quotation about exploding melons, or how many bridges collapse within ten years of being built.

When I lived in New Zealand, I knew a builder who led a thrifty and frugal life. He worked for three months each year, then spent the remaining nine months at Auckland library, learning about everything and anything by reading book after book.

As researchers, we’ve got it better than he did because we can earn money whilst we learn.

There is a downside, of course. We don’t necessarily want to learn everything that we research. Do we really want to learn the causes and solutions of some personal hygiene problem? Do we really want to learn how many cars were sold with CD players in 1992 in Detroit? Do we really want to learn the intricate details of slaughterhouse practises, or the contact details of the marketing managers of the ten largest widget makers in Spain?

Maybe not.

The mark of a professional researcher is to focus on the job at hand, and we can always gain satisfaction from a research job well done, whatever the subject. When the job also results in a rewarding learning experience, that’s a fringe benefit!

Comments are closed.