'Where Research Scholars go Wrong in preparing to
undertake Research'


Dr. M M Bagali
Professor of Human Resource Management
Head, Research in Management
JAIN University
CMS Annex, # 319, JP Nagar, 6th Phase, 17th Cross, 25th Main, Bangalore, India, 560078


One of the fascinating word that has caught the present generation in education field is the term called as "Research". The term has different meaning for different sections of students. For some, it means that, you need to dig already available material/ stuff, and than re-look at it, in the present contact or in the contact which your research work is addressing. For some, it is collection of required data, and present it in the needed format. For some, it is to look at an entire different framework and format, and try discovery some new facts and issues, per se.  In all this case, everyone is right, but what matter is, why is research still not a breakthrough thought among the researchers. In contact of Management Research world, apart from the know big Business school research outcome, why is that, other business schools which runs in numbers, are not heard about their research work or their findings of work. Where is the issue lying, and what can be done.

This paper is based on my personal observation, with more than a decade experience in management research, while working to guide several students for doctoral degree work and as scholar during my work towards management doctoral degree. The issue of - Where PhD Scholars go Wrong in undertaking Research, has to be seen at multiple stages. There seems to be lack of clarity and deep understanding about the issues before one decides to do research work. Some of those are discussed here, with the view to understand the solutions for these issues.

1. The Prepared Mind:

Research requires a different type of aptitude. Being a good teacher will not grantee one to be a good researcher. You should be prepared to be a researcher, because it requires a different set of skills and competency to prove to be a good researcher. Most feel that, if I am a good teacher, I will be a good researcher. I am sure, this is surely not the true proposition.

Further, you need to prepare to be a researcher, and see things from a researchers lens.A well preparation before formally you enrol for the Doctorate degree is must. When we say, a well prepared mind, necessary it means that, any area or subject that we wish to discover further,enough time has to be spent, know the ground reality of the subject that e wish to take it further, and a self directed question- Is this issue a researchable topic / area, that has the potential to be researched.

2. Wide Reading:

An work requires a gip on the subject and the area. A well read work or the subject that one wish to undertake the research work, will lead to better and appropriate conclusions. Most of the time, the scholar looses the direction in between and try to regain the line at the later stage. Through reading initially, will not only help the scholar to look at the feasibility of the work to be undertaken, but gives a direction and a purpose. A set a well defined objectives for the study, a well read work is must. Further, a wide reading which encompass different subject or interlinked domain, will help understand the scope of the study. Initial reading about various subject, methods of research will focus the work in the right direction.

A through visits to various libraries and try find out the journals which focus in the area of subject one wish to research, will be of great help. Library, inspire having online and search engine, will help us understand from varied point of views and subjects. My personal view and interaction with most scholars is, most scholars have not spent time visiting library before they are enrolled in the phd program. They feel that, once they are enrolled, that library work starts. Infact, this is wrong. Before library time investment than later, will save lots of error one usually does later.

3. Expert Advise and Discussion:

Participating in discussion forum related to academic and research is one initiative the scholars should initially invest some time. A fairly good idea as what area that you wish to work is finalised initially, that, finding experts in the area, through review of literature or social media, or any form of forums will help the scholar to fairly get a good idea about the pro-cons of the work that one intends to undertake. A list of Expert and Professor who are know in the field may be listed out, and reached. The purpose is, clarity and initial doughs about the inns-outs of the topic that one intends to research will give later the clarity that one wish to take the research further. What I have found personally is, lack of clarity is the most problem area by researchers. Initially, all areas/topics/ subjects seems to be easy, and one starts the feeling that, they can undertake research. Later, one starts the temperature go up, ones they realise that, the work that they are doing, do not fall in the scope of the subject or faculty that they are working. This inhibition will be sorted out, with expert advise, discussion and talk.

4. Network with Forums:

For any quality research work, the buzz word is the network. The network in the form of having connects with the experts in the field; the professors working in different Universities air research Institutes; or the network with the Professional Association in the field. For example, any research work in the field of management, network with professionals association like : NHRD, SHRM, NIPM, CII, NASSCOM, and like, will give that great leap in the research work. My personal experience is that, for past 10 years , I have been associated with these forums. I participate in their discussion, workshop, evening talks, conference and annual meets. And my experience is, each time these Professional Association member's meet, they discuss the latest happenings in the organisation, real issues, and real time solutions. To know the latest whats happening in the business world, get connected with these Professional Association, through various forums. This is the first hand stuff that you get the information for your initial thoughts for research work. Most of the time, connecting with these Professional Association, will give you an idea, as to which-ever area research topic that we intend to select, is it really worth doing a research work !!. This will be answered through your understudying and discussion with the Professionals in the field.

5. The Work done:

Every researchers wish to do work which is new and innovative. Everyone starts with the big bang, and top of the mind is the creation of knowledge and innovativeness, that the work should address. This is a nice feeling and thinking, and intact, one has to have such mind map. But, invest in understanding the work done and the maturity of the subject in which one intends to work further. Reviewing varied work undertaken in the area, will have the right researchable direction. Most proposals are neither addressed properly or directed to the issue sand solutions. In many cases, the work is researchable, but docent fall in the scope of the faculty/ subject one intends to work. For example, if one intended to work in the area of management science, that, among the subject that management has the scope, your work should focus. There has to be link between the title, the objectives, the research questions and the intended outcome of the work. All these should sink in line.


There are certain work one undertakes in life time. And one such life time work is the PhD work. It is not just for the degree and proton or to seek a job, once should undertake the phd work. Instead, start with the object of creating a breakthrough work, to create knowledge and contribute to the society. The big work you plan, than the big preparation one should think. Your game is as good as your preparation. If you prepare well, than, your game on the final day will be better. Any research work, at the end of the day, should be  utilised form various angles and for various purpose. It should lead to developing a course, should figure in the best selling books, should be part of any executive program of business school or the corporate program. Further, it should serve as the modules and models in executive training, and lead further in consultancy, Workshop and FDP/ MDP of the business school. The work one does should not just restrict to academic work; instead, it should be of greater part of any of the corporate decision making process, and global dialogue and discussion at various forums.

Likewise, your well prepared PhD work, will end with well researched conclusions and suggestions, which I am sure, will help the society, business and community at large. They are certain myths about PhD work, and one needs to address theses myths.Few tips before we end:

1.  Don't go with the mind set that, once i register for PhD, I will get the degree.

2. It is just that the quality and standard PhD work one should do, is just spoken orally and in practice, none such theory exist.

3. Any type of work or topic or area one does, they can undertake research work. Anything will work. This is surely not true.

4. Everyone is registered for a PhD work, hence I will also get registered for PhD work.

5. Most of the work is cut-paste-repast and again cut. Don't do PhD for the heck of doing, because everyone ran the horse, hence I also ran the horse.


Views, opinions, or strategies presented are what I personally think and believe to reflect "Life of PhD", and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or strategies of the Organisationů.. As a researcher, guide and supervisor, this what is my views/ experience and observationů.

Dr. M M Bagali
Professor of Human Resource Management
Head, Research in Management
JAIN University
CMS Annex, # 319, JP Nagar, 6th Phase, 17th Cross, 25th Main, Bangalore, India, 560078

Source: E-mail September 26, 2015


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