“Definitely Not”- A Common Practice of Pakistani Researchers

The writer is an author and columnist
By: Areeba Tayyab

Research is a fundamental aspect for increasing the knowledge bank of a society or a community and has the tendency to create new and innovative ideas that can help people explore new dimensions. In the race of exploration, the researchers read, research, reread, re-explore and conclude summarizing all their research objectives. In this process, the researchers also learn how to understand, negate, negotiate and logically criticize the existing body of research. Unfortunately, In Pakistan, the research culture, instead of gaining an intellectual outlook has become a hub for scholars to reject and negate new ideas. Therefore, in the recent decade, very few innovative researchers have made their way.

Research is a creative and systematic exploration of a theory that might have the tendency to be true. Not all research is completely justified and most importantly the purpose of all the research is not just to create a new idea, but it could be a reinforcement of an already existing idea as well. We have a variety of researches i.e. review papers, descriptive research, action research, qualitative and quantitative research. Each one has its own ways of describing and presenting the thesis. But sadly, with a limited lens to observe research, our researchers without reading the context or the content rejects it “definitely”.

Considering this situation in an academic atmosphere, the students with their budding researches suffer from utter disappointment and look down upon research as an extra burden on them. They prefer using online tools for rephrasing old researches and come up with an idea which is “definitely acceptable” by their supervisors. Since the absolute answer is so important, “partly acceptable” or “partly rejected” are terms out of questions. It is a sad dilemma that despite having many publications, our supervisors still rely on researches that have the same stance starting from the introduction until the conclusion. A good research has traces of ambiguity and uncertainty because a researcher is an explorer who is digging deep in the world of knowledge gathering thoughts to prove his/her logic. There are also researches available in the world that reject their own notion after reading multiple pieces of research and performing various aspect but unfortunately, we only extend arguments and write a new thesis out of it. The budding researchers have the tendency to experiment and have the time to prove their logic but with the limited set of questions and already defined answers, a lot of space is taken away. The students are left with no choice but to choose from a limited set of topics.

It is high time that we must understand the importance of research and negative influence of the terms “definitely yes” and “definitely no” in research because this is actually damaging the whole concept and purpose of research in Pakistan. For the purpose, discussion forums should be introduced where ideas should be discussed and considered, most importantly listened with an accepting mind. There should be an acceptance of ideas and understanding the logic with a calm mind. It is true that without critical analysis, research cannot be evaluated easily but at the same time, being reluctant to listen is again a false way of understanding research.

In this regard, the government and Higher Education Commission must come up with new methods to evaluate research. The new researchers must be given new forum where they can research independently and should be given the defend their thesis. Special grants for research should also be revived once again so that there must be motivation for working on new ideas. Research is a fundamental aspect of the existing world, and Pakistan can excel in many ways if research is promoted in higher educational institutes.

The writer is an Mphil in English Literature and can be reached at [email protected]

From our print edition.