Your Research will Thank you
“I have met young scholars who are not familiar with earlier literature and they think that older works are not as good as newer ones. That is simply not true. Many old scientific papers were very well-written, applied the same scientific rigour, and their processes were just as valid as today’s experiments. They can be very valuable to any researcher.”
–Iain Clarke, Professor and head of the Department of Physiology at the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University, Australia
Who says science gets old? You can’t possibly believe that – do you want someone to think at some point that your research is old? Of course you don’t. It’s wise not to believe books and journal articles that are 10, 20, 30 or more years old are, well, old. The lessons of science have much to teach us, as Professor Clarke so clearly states.
Reading the history and developments of a particular science is time well spent. Whether you call it a literature review, a literature survey or prior art, there are huge benefits to making time to “search the stacks.” Consider these three reasons:
- You’ll develop a rich, full and comprehensive body of knowledge. Reading the older stuff shows that you’ve done your homework. You’ll avoid repeating work that has already been done. You’ll demonstrate what is already known about a topic, show how extensive the research that has already been done is, and show the gap your own research intends to fill. Knowing what, and who, came before is where you begin to (or further) establish your own expertise.
- You’ll discover supporting research from other disciplines that you might not have known about. References to foundational literature in the books and articles you read may open vistas to other disciplines that influenced the original work. These references may lead you to look for collaborators outside of your own domain expertise, ensuring you have a multidisciplinary view to your project.
- It’s good practice. Knowing how to get a solid grounding in your field through a literature review is important for a career in either academia or industry. Honing this skill shows you are resourceful and thorough. And by reading all the published literature you can discover on your chosen topic, you’ll begin to recognize well-written discourse, which, in turn, may influence your own approach to writing or communicating about your work.
The importance of extensive literature study in any field and especially in a multidisciplinary field can be understood by reading the experiences of top researchers who insist that ““Particularly if you are embarking on interdisciplinary research work, the latest scientific articles from different disciplines will aid you in your preparation for your investigation and the eventual publication of your results,” he (Dr. Bikramjit Basu, Professor at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, works extensively in the area of material science) notes. “Personally, reading scientific papers has helped me tremendously. For example, through journal articles, I was able to study the fundamentals of biological science, which has enabled me to contribute to the field of biomaterials. Today, I am India’s top author in this area.”
““I can’t emphasize enough on the importance of scientific literature that dates back 20 or 30 years ago…. you are able to present a well-researched discourse that are inclusive and credible. “
Dr. Pujawan, a Professor of Supply Chain Engineering and Head of Graduate Programme at the Department of Industrial Engineering, Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology (ITS), Surabaya, Indonesia, shared how Pre-1995 articles have catalysed new areas of research. “The research that I have been doing is rooted in knowledge development that took place as early as the 1950s. By having a good track on the development from its early stage, a researcher like me would know more accurately the evolution of a particular issue, focus, approach/methodology, and the findings of what other (and earlier) researchers have done. Research is about contributing to the knowledge gap. If we only look at literature from the past five years, it is possible that we may repeat something that other people have done ten years before.”
Professor Iain Clarke, Professor and the head of the Department of Physiology at the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University, Australia says,
“I have met young scholars who are not familiar with earlier literature and they think that older works are not as good as newer ones. That is simply not true. Many older scientific papers were very well-written, applied the same scientific rigour, and their processes were just as valid as today’s experiments. They are very valuable to any researcher.”
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Source : https://blog.sciencedirect.com
It’s time to get started. Try a search on ScienceDirect today and discover years’ worth of science to inspire your own growing body of knowledge. Your research will thank you.