Qualifications of a Researcher

Researcher: One who is keen in learning/knowing about some thing that interests him/her.

Having the following qualification, a researcher can accelerate in his/her research. The more you are having these qualities, better will be your research outcome.

  1. Acknowledging that I know very little and there is so much to learn: Acknowledging this fact is the first qualification of a researcher. The moment a researcher develops an "I know everything" attitude, his/her growth diminishes.
  2. Urge to learn more: Many will acknowledge that they know little but will not have an urge to know more. The burning desire to reach the very depth of your problem is absolutely essential in attaining excellence.
  3. Non-judgmental open-hearted attitude towards research: Based on your prior experience, there will be some notions about research, particularly related to your area. You need to step out of the familiar confines of these notions and be open to new ideas, new ways of doing things. This is like looking at a diamond. If you look at it from one side, you will get only one view thereby missing all the other possible dimensions of the same diamond. A non-judgmental and open hearted attitude will open all the perspectives for you.
  4. Giving priority to Truth and Research before your personal comfort and conveniences: Research has to be the priority even preceding your personal comfort. If you are comfortable with yourself then you will do your research of that level only. You will not achieve the highest level of research and hence the satisfaction. If you are resisting discomfort, your process of learning is always hampered. If you have this attitude then you will not be able to see the depth of any thing. Your relationship with discomfort plays a major role. If you are comfortable to be uncomfortable, your learning process is much faster. The discomfort is because of certain weakness within yourself. Suppose you are required to work on a research problem in the subject in which you are weak, then in such a situation 1) You will try to avoid the work; or 2) If you can not avoid it then you will be unhappy/frustrated doing that work. A true researcher has a different perspective. You should take this as an opportunity to learn something new. Once you have mastered the topic, you will be looking for something new to explore.
  5. Complete Commitment to Research Area: Once you have zeroed down on a particular area of research, you must be totally committed to that topic and stop moving around in different areas of research. This is important because as you go deeper and deeper into one particular field of research, your line of thinking develops in a particular way and the moment you change your field, your thinking has to again realign with that new area. If you want to dig a well for water then your need to dig deep at one place and not small pits at many places. The same way you need to focus on your research area rather than just moving around.
  6. Having patience and perseverance: This quality is a key to the success of a researcher. Many a times, what you think will work, will actually not work and you will get dejected, feel low and might even think of giving up. Having patience and perseverance will help you to be on the path till you get to the success.

Apart from knowing the qualities of a researcher, it is also interesting to know why people turn away from research. The three reasons that puts people off from research are:

  1. Confidence in their own inabilities: People are so much confident about their inabilities that they do not even think of research as an option. They are not aware what they can do and hence are not even thinking of research. A saying in this regard goes very well here: If you know what you can do then you will progress. If you don't know what you can do then you will progress by leaps and bounds.
  2. Fear of failure & What will people think about me: This is another reason for people turning away from research. Their insecurity regarding the research outcome compels them not to go for it.
  3. Lower level of energy: A person with lower enthusiasm toward study will take research as burden and will not opt for it as a career option.

Make research your journey and not just your goal

PS: The article is an adaptation of an article on “Signs of a seeker” by H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Celebrating Silence and a discourse by Rishi Nityapragya, Art of Living advanced course teacher on “Qualifications of a seeker”. A seeker in this context, is a person who is interested in knowing more about Self.

PPS: Thanks to all those who helped me fine tune this article.