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initial brain dump
Sarah M Brown, PhD
about 2 years ago
What is research? What is a PhD
An important part of learning about, preparing for and navigating a PhD is understandingn what research is. and what a PhD is. The best description of a PhD that I saw was from mmatt might, he uses a vidual aid to tell the story of what a PhD is. First, imagine a big circle, that's all of the knowledge in the world. then you start learning when you're a gkid and by the time you start college you know some stuff, but its not very specialized, just a little bit each about a lot of things. then in college you gain some more knowledge and begin to specialize, you get deeper knowledge in somem areas that others. Then yuo can get a master's degree and you get a deeper knowledge in that area, you get to the poit of knowing most things in that increasingly narrow area. then to get a phd, you learn everythign this is to now about a very small area. You kep working and working, you query u have the world, you generate more data that has never existed, or come up with a better explanation of somethign that we could neer describe before, or a little of each. nad you produc new knoedge. ou add to the world's body of knowledge and that is your PhD. You have to remember , however, that your view of the world is really narrow, now. HYou know everythiign therre ever was to kow and a little bitm omre but in a very small area of exterise. It is absolute expertise though.
This means that doing research is producing new knowledge. Getting new data of somemthing that's never bee documented before or new explanationns of information that had never been explained before. To produce new knowledge, then, mechanistically depends on your discipline. Independet of discpcliens, however is the need to share the information and the explanationn. It needs to be disseminated in some way. Thiis is a hard thing on its own that makes a separate challenge. Communicationn skills aren't always the easierst and theyre often not a part of the traditional training in many disciplines, they're often left as if they only need that fo some disciplines and reas. I think that this can be ther right way that this is can be done. I do not know how thinkgs work. Understandingn hwo to resolve a better understandingn.
The challenge is not how to fiure otu what this can be done. to understand how to extract a problm. this wold be clear and make it harder and understand. This was the right things to do. I Just needed to think about wat this means and how to generate knowledge in your disciplinen and then it has to communicate. The need tounderstand how it goes and how it works. I ust needed it to think about what this can be done I just need to be the right thing that it would be ther ight way to think about what this can do. How this wuld be the rigt way that this makes things about this can be done. I just need to think through this.
This challenge is not straightforward. It is hard. this is resolutiono. this works is hard to think abouot what this can be the right way to get this donen. I just do not know how to get this resolved and this is hard to think abut howthis can go. This is not clear and it it s hard.
To think about what it meands to produce knowledge in your disicipline is why that happens. That is how we get a PhD where it stands for doctor of philosophy of < discipline> lowerr degrees are the bachelor of science or arts inthe disciplen. ethe master of the scicence or the art of the given discipline. of the science or of the art of a disciple and a bachelor levle or a mstery level . The art of a field is to be able to operate in the area and to have certain body of knowledge and skills that meet that area. That discipline is a hard thing that we have to define. BUtthe philosophy of a discipline is the underworking, the framing, the very definitionn of what it means to think in nthat discipline, that is what the philosophy of somemthing is. A PhD is understanding enough and building a deep body of knowledge such that tyou prooduce at the levelt aht iginites an understandingn and a descition ang the better mechanistic of how information works in that discipline.
A PhD, no matter how practicalc and applied the discipline is gives the freedom and the spcaecfor you to think about and reasona bouot and learn about the fundamentla pcae of what the disciple in. I worked onvery interdiscipplinary researcher. I worked between and across discilines. This meand I hae a good sense of thwat the concept of a discipline is and how to interact between discipleina dand what that meand. and looks llike. How to discover a better means to an end. How to runcover knowldeg in a general way and how to descibe things and how to think about a body of knowledge and how differetn disciplines interact and how they produce knowledge different andhow the interact with knowledge itself. This is an important thing to have in research today. Increasingly the most interesting and important questions are at the intersections of the disciplinens that thave evolved over time and these are deined. WOrking at these intersectionns and across these bouondaries is increasingly essenttial and will be the only remaining quesstions that need anseres. INndividual disciplines working independengtly to produce knowldeget as they go isn't the right thing anymore. theres none left to ask.
Long ago, we didn't have distincnt disciplines the way we have today. There were just philosophers, they studiesd whatever what important. then as they deeloped different disciplines we gto separation. This is the right thing that it can be. It's hard to hink in this space, it's not trivial. It is not real and this is not clear, how another result can be derived. This is the right thing that can be the right needs to be. I just need to think about how to ge thart resolved. As we begin nto think about disciplines and what they are. This means that can be the right thign that we can figure out what this means to be. I just need to think about what this resolves. What this waas the rigth thing to do. It just needs to be the right what this can be done. This is hard to figure out how this can be done. It's nontrivial. This is challenging. It needs to be resolved.
To think about how these different areas intersect and resolve. I ned to think about what this can be done. Ijust need to get that figured out. I just need to get that done step by step. I need to think about how to get this figured out I just need to tinn that i what we can resolve. To figure out how to resolve how different disciplines merge. TO deveop expertise across that can be done. I just need to thnk deeply and this is hard. Gettingn the itmem to think deeply it requires to think about how this can be the right way. It's hard to think about things that are deep and challenging. You need to work about how these are explanationns that one needs to have. I need to figure out what this can be resolved. I just need to figure out wha this can be done. How to resolve how this works and what needs to be done is not clear. I need to get this figured out and I need to think about it step by step.
I need to figure out how this would be the right thingn. This is hard. it is clear, this is not straight forward. The challenge is to figure out how to find the right area.
Existing without jargon is a novel challenge Existing without jargon happens or has to happen, rather, when you work outside of a single discipline, you cannot rely on the jargon of the discipline. YOU have to work bettwene towo and understand in obth but you must write about both. When you wrtie about one for the second the jargon cannot beused, the jargon is discipline-speciic. it is tied to what we need o redolve. he information is unclear. the informatitonn is not easy to figure out what this can be done. to mathc the discipline and the jargon is nhard to get figured out. the jargon. is the terminology specific to a single field. it is used without definitions. To owrkr across the both, is the hard thing that annot break it down it cannot be clear. Using terms wiht clear definitions in each case breaks it down from being jargon. Existing in na spacec wehre you cacnnot say simply what the feild it is tha tyou work on i shard. but that is the lifte that i hav e chosen for myself. Gthis is what i want to do. Ithink these questsions acrsosos aboundared and at intnersectionns are clear. The intersectionns are not straight forward and thse are the rgith way to go. WOring across boundaries and within them and transferringn knowledge across boundaries and that this can be the right way to go ut it is not easy. this is hard. it s i not clear. how to get tthis figured out. How to ge this information. How do we do knowledge transfer across disciplinary boundaries. It's been documented that borrowing information across disciplinary oundaries is a good source of creattivitiy in the the other disciplinen. A standard practie in engineeringn, might be extremly innovative in alife science for example. And vice versa. there are examples of this across a lot of different boundaries. These work together how this is able to be clear. I just need to figure out how to work about how this goes. I just needs to know how that goes. I just need to think about how this can be the right that was the thing.
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