I’ve always hated doing research. Looking up stuff online, rephrasing… It always felt like a machine could have achieved better results, and hence save my time.
When I was a kid, we were asked to do homework research about several topics, especially in literature class. And I hated it. Especially when I finally got access to the internet, because I knew that we were all going to copy and paste chunks of text from some top-result encyclopedia page or article, and pretend that we wrote it ourselves by rephrasing most of it, without adding any kind of value. I’ve always thought it was a pure waste of time.
You may say that it was a silly move for me to undertake a 3-year PhD thesis, then! As you can guess, I also hated that part of reading too many papers, and taking notes for reference. At least it implied the intellectual challenge of positioning my own research contribution by referring to others’ research. But still, I hated it.
And now, I’m finding myself doing research. Again. And, for the second time, this was my own decision. I’m co-writing a MOOC on the Lean Startup methodology, so I have to do some research on techniques I have not personally used yet. But this time, I realise that it’s not that boring to do. Why? Because this time, I know that I’m writing it for a meaningful purpose (teach people), for a specific audience (wantrepreneurs), and with a personally-chosen tone (that tech guy that hates bullshit and wasting people’s time, but loves to make complex things simple). All these creative constraints make me happy to do the research!
So, when I think about my school years, I can’t help but being mad towards my teachers. For not having given us more creative constraints when they asked us to do research. I would have enjoyed writing that article about Charlotte Brontë, if I had been asked to tell her story like if it was a kid’s fairy tale! I would not have minded doing a summary of Camus’ The Stanger, if I had been asked to present it like a TV news presenter, together with one of my classmates!
That being said, I have to go back my research, or you may call me a procrastinator! ;-)