Research is a challenging field. As a matter of fact, it’s a job in and of itself.
There are many forms of research: reading books, compiling documentation, gathering photo images and videos, conducting surveys, testing theories, internet search engines, interviewing key personnel, and simply observing what goes on in one’s own surroundings. Research, then, covers a vast area of data acquisition.
As expected, field research comprises all of these to some extent, and since each case is different, the extent to which they apply is not always the same. That can make research interesting, to say the least. This form of research–what I call the visual or, more aptly, experiential–is by far one of the most significant and important kinds of research undertaken. Why? People gain tremendous insight from just interacting physically with a subject’s foundation; one can learn more, say, about a place by simply being there than reading about it or reviewing images of it. The latter is where research starts; the research doesn’t end (if it does at all) until a person is able to merge physically with it. Anyone who visits Mexico, for example, gains knowledge of the country than someone else who merely collects data on it, although I would not dismiss the latter by any means, only to say that the former develops a sense of the place that her/his counterpart has not attained—a sense that is oh-so important with regards to understanding said place, such as Mexico. This is why field research is so important.
Unfortunately, traveling, as exciting as it is, costs money and time, which many people don’t have. Field research must be planned and conducted according at all times, as both a budget and deadline are usually integral and necessary components to the project.
That should not discourage anyone, however. Those who are motivated by their sense of adventure should go with it; doing field work is never impossible. The important thing is for those interested to know what research field work entails. If one thing is missed or disregarded, the project will have problems and quite possibly come to a halt; knowing about such things ahead of time will ensure that the project runs smoothly.
Knowledge acquisition is not merely finding and collecting data; it quite often requires analysis, deduction and asking questions. These will lead those doing research to determine where and how they should go as well as to piece together bits of data. Since answers are rarely offered up in affirmation, researchers will frequently have to formulate their own conclusions. Interestingly, one researcher’s conclusions will not necessarily coincide with the conclusions of another. Each person’s thinking is different than any other. This is why sharing and collaborating is important; multiple perspectives add depth and dimension to a growing body of knowledge.
Theories make up guiding pointers, yet rarely does the data collected support any theory one hundred percent conclusively. Theories are beliefs one has based on one’s present understanding of data already obtained, nothing else. They should therefore never be misconstrued as ‘fact,’ regardless of one’s personal or professional standing. Critical analysis is always necessary for continued growth in any subject area, which is why research is boundless.
This blog will feature ongoing discussions regarding my research on own projects as well as issues pertaining to research in general: techniques, the preferred method of research for any given project (and each one is different), gaining permission to enter private property or the best time to visit, the equipment used, traveling, reputable versus questionable sources/resources, money, data interpretation, objective versus biased evaluation, and simply sharing one’s own insights from personal experience. Everything related to research is welcome here.
Please feel free to link this to your sites, too, if you wish. The more readers involved, the merrier!
Have a good day and I’ll see you soon.