Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The Devil Lurking - Part 1


What is this devil called research all about? Isn't research just for the scientists? What's so fun about doing research?

We creative people feels more at ease with the self-expressive way of doing things. We often feel intimidated and sometime even repulsive when thinking about having to adopt to the regimented procedures of conducting a proper research activity. Truely, it is not about having to abide to the strict conformity of research methodology rules, but about pursuing a systematic process that ensures an unbiased enquiry into a new knowledge seeking activity. The ultimate objective of research in solving a problem is to seek for a truthful solution.

Ask any of those who has gone through the research journey, many will agree that it is an experience and new revelation that enhances your confidence in your viva presentation because all your decisions are substantiated by factual and proven findings. Research gets us to adopt a more critical and analytical way of looking at the world problem around us.

Research is not an activity centered around 'ME' the egoistic creator, but 'me' the unbiased observer and reporter of a phenomena. When we do designing, we planned what the final product will be like, right from the begining stage. We kind of knew already which direction it will go, and we keep refining the solution as we go along. In designing or art making, it is always at the end of the day about 'MY' personnal value judgements.

The entry premis to research on the other hand is simple..."Exactly what new information are you searching for? .... I don't know, but that's what I am about to find out... I only have an educated guess about what the answer is, but the research result will show me the truth." Embarking on a research is like a newborn child, hungery for knowledge and truth. With no special rucksack to carry on his back, he refrains from making any early judgements (usually are heavily clouded by his personal preconceived opinions), nor do he dictate the direction of flow. Every single stone is never left unturned, and he seeks for a satisfactory explaination to every phenomenom. Every observations, no matter how small, is noted and analysed because it become part of the building blocks to constructing a bigger knowledge structure. Although at the begining the jigsaw puzzle pieces looks baffling and seemed unrelated, but with the adoption of a keen and open-mind, eventually a pattern will emerge that will fit the pieces beautifully and coherently together into a new body of knowledge. If after subjecting the findings to many repeated tests, and the observed pattern still remains intact, than it confirms the existance of the relationship to a new theory.

Unfortunately, no matter how extensive a research activity was done, a researcher is not a researcher if he did not document it, because not everyone else is a mind-reader. His discovery or finding cannot be shared if not written down. Anyway, there's nothing so magical or so elitist in reporting about your research. The documentation is merely a direct reporting about what you do, what actually happened and the result is reported as it is, with no indication of data manipulation or tampering of the data to suit the researcher's personnal ego. Even with a perfect research methodology in place, the end result may still end up negative and contradicting your earlier hypothesis. That's the truth that you must accept, for that's your research findings. This does not however mean that you have failed in your research quest. Your research finding has successfully proven that the earlier hypothesis is null. Still, it is an important contribution to knowledge, and you will be reporting to the would-be future researcher who reads your thesis not to go down that same trail again. Despite the possible failure, we can still learned from the mistakes, and it own small way will still contributed to the wider body of knowledge in that field.

Now that the earlier imaginary growl, roars and howling from the forest has been lifted and demystified, there is no excuse why we artists and designers should not do research. One do not have to be a scientist nor engineer to be a researcher. What we do as an artist and designer is already a form of research, but what is missing in the equation is the documentation bit that will allow us to share with others our thought process, decision-making and justification when we created our artworks. How can we command the respect from others about our profession if we ourself are not ready to share the knowledge with others. Documentation helps to shows to others that we are not that free-wheelers and egoist people that they think we are. We do have solid base structure and we too have established methods when carrrying out our creative endeavours.

It is that simple. Clearly by now, you would have realised that the so called devil is just a ficticious shadow of some knowledgable ignorance.


At August 17, 2004 at 11:51 PM, Blogger Clint said...

Good evening,

I write to you not because of your postt because I have an interest in Malaysia. I come from Kentucky, a land far from Malaysia. I would like to know what it is like to be Malaysian.

At August 18, 2004 at 11:23 PM, Blogger DrKamy said...

Just like any other normal citizen, we Malaysians are proud of our country, or race and our beliefs. You are always welcomed to share the God given joy of living in the sunny topical climate of Malaysia


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