“Starting with why” is made popular by Simon Sinek as a source of inspiration. It turns out that it is also the first thing you need to spell out if you hope to get your research published- in any field. It is also called the motivation of the research. And your research better be motivated strongly!
In fact, as one Journal Editor pointed out, the peer reviewers look at a) the title b) the abstract and c) introduction where the “why” is spelt out. If by this time, that is 3-4 pages of a 40 page manuscript you have not painted a clear picture of the “why,” your chances of moving forward in the review process plummets to almost zero.
So what is it in the “why” of research that the academic world is so finicky about? Here are some insights for all the budding researchers out there:
- Nothing you say is really new: This blogger’s PhD adviser pointed out this rather depressing fact and he had been told by his PhD adviser and so on… If you really went back to the Aristotles’ and Plutos’ of the world you would find a reference to the seed of the idea somewhere.
- Google never draws a blank: Google and Google Scholar does not draw a blank unless you put quotation marks on a long sentence or phrase. And these are early days of indexing the world’s published knowledge.
- Summary of what is known and unknown-the literature review: Scholars are expected to present a detailed literature review after the introduction. The introduction however pins down the highlights of what is known and what is unknown about the issue at hand. This overview must be short i.e. a couple of paragraphs that must signal to fellow experts that you know what has been going on in the specific “gap” that you are trying to fill.
- Why filling the “gap” in knowledge is important: Just because something is not known is not a good reason to study it. The researcher must spell out the benefits of knowing that sliver of unknown that is claimed in the opening. Striking a fine balance between exaggerated claims of “why” or timid apologies of “why” have to be balanced.
- Invoking other calls for research to buttress your “why” can help: Finding noted scholars who have mentioned the need for future research that support your “why” also helps your cause.
If you think about major pieces of research that scholars in the business disciplines work between 3-5 years to publish, you realize that the intrinsic “why” of the research question is pretty motivating for the intrepid researcher.About StratoServe Digital Marketing Services.