Research, Academic Research to be more precise, is generally looked upon as a subsidiary of a stipulated course. When you enrol yourself to a course (Bachelor's or Master's), you may have a brush with the concept of research or maybe at the end of the course write one or two research papers as part of it. The question of taking up research as a career, therefore, dies with the struggle to acknowledge it as a prospective career choice and a vague ‘something’ that was done in a few semesters.
Most of the students, after completion of Master's degree, look for corporate or government job opportunities and the idea of taking up research as a viable career option is a very rare choice. And while the prospect of pursuing a PhD is vaguely familiar to people, the hard-core research work is often diluted to that only. Hence, the objective and the underlying purpose here is to provide information about this field which is yet to invade students’ minds.
So the question arises, What is academic research? How is it different from Market Research? It’s not just digging out new facts, rather it’s a norm through which new research techniques are being discovered, often touching upon the less discovered arenas of life.
If you are all set to consider Research as the primary and one-directional road, you must remember this road may take diverse forms. Typically, colleges employ academic researchers for various reasons. Often a personal project or a government or college-funded project requires academic researchers with an acute sense of observation and a keen mind to delve into the depths of the matter. Alternatively, one can also assist students who are new to the idea of Research and give them the right direction- Particularly so if your personal project topic is similar to a student’s research interest.
Research generally takes three forms:
- Explanatory Research (the phase of pointing out research problems in a particular topic)
- Constructive Research (Providing solution to the identified problem)
- Empirical Research (to support your argument through empirics).
For getting into the research field, usually a Master’s level degree from a reputed institution in an area of your interest is a must.
And for being a senior researcher, sometimes it’s also essential to get a number of your research papers published.
Some of the top institutions offering tremendous research opportunities in India are:
1. Tata Institute of fundamental Research, Mumbai
2. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
3. All India Institute of Medical Sciences, delhi
4. Post Graduate Institute of medical education and Research, Chandigarh
5. Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
University professors often hire young researchers to curate the Empirical Research (i.e. to draft questionnaires, conduct interviews, collect requisite data). It gives you, as a budding researcher, the insight that is very much required for your own growth towards becoming a professional researcher.
Moreover, you can always help out independent individuals who are not by profession related to the field of academics, but are willing to look into it for their own knowledge and exploration.
Additionally the most exciting aspect of being an academic researcher could be the provision to travel and interact with people coming from different cultures and backgrounds while collecting the data. Even if you don’t get to travel, you get to conduct interviews and understand the real facet of the problem you were dealing with theoretically till now.
The salary in this field generally depends on a variety of factors. Today, the researchers are recruited in both public and private enterprises. The starting is from Rs 20,000- 30,000 per month and it increases gradually as and when the researchers gain experience.
Therefore, given the immense opportunity that this field provides, it is an extremely good career option for those who already have good interest in any kind of research work or even those who wish to learn such skills!
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