Career in Research : Skills and Prospects

By Mahesh Kale, 7th October, 2020, 22:00 IST

A number of skills are demanded of a researcher – critical thinking, analytical prowess and problem solving abilities being of the most important ones. Kusumika Ghosh, Researcher at Calcutta Research Group and Ph.D. scholar at Dublin City University and co-author of “Landscape of Conflicts and Peace in the Northeast: The Role of Religion” (NESRC, 2019) discussed about research in social sciences as a career option in a webinar on 3rd October, 2020.

Excerpts from the webinar :

The National Education Policy 2020 emphasises upon the relevance and efficacy of academic research. Students and working professionals aspiring for a career in research are required to imbibe the necessary skills and knowledge and may need to consider a PhD in their discipline to sustain in the market. 

To make a career in research an aspirant should have patience and ability to move out of their comfort zone and be exposed to the dynamics of the society. While collecting data, researchers conduct interviews of people from diverse backgrounds – for that researchers should be reflexive. Researchers should uphold strong values with ethics, communication, and organisational skills. Academic writing and analytical skills play an important role in drawing empirical solutions.

For pursuing PhD in India, an aspirant needs to qualify the UGC NET examination.  They might be required to present a GRE score for USA, IELTS-TOEFL For Europe-UK-New Zealand et al English speaking countries . As a fresh graduate, an aspirant should have a minimum of two years of experience in the relevant or interdisciplinary domain to your PhD topic. For the topic of your PhD narrow down the scope and expand your choices. Work experience and the PhD proposal is the trump card to get into PhD and these two should evolve simultaneously. Try to publish a minimum of two articles in peer review journals. The aspirant should have two academic referees. With the proposal, the applicant can approach different universities and the respective departments via email. The applicant’s research proposal should resonate with the specialisation of the prospective research guide. The scope of citing work of the research guide in the proposal acts as an added advantage.

There is another way to get into a PhD. Various universities publish advertisements for PhD positions  Before applying for a PhD one needs to  ensure the source of funding such that academic and living expenses should be covered in it.

A career in research requires time and patience. 

Watch the full webinar :

Kusumika Ghosh from the Catalyst Class of 2016 is a Master degree holder in Peace and Conflict Studies from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Her interest in issues around gender, and specifically women, underlines all her work – from her BA thesis on the Participation and Victimhood of women in anti-state outfits like the LTTE, the Islamic State and the Maoists in India; to her most recent research on the documentation of oral histories of the Partition of 1947 on behalf of The Partition Museum, Amritsar. She has worked as a Research Associate on a project called Conflict Transformation and Peace-building in Northeast India with the North Eastern Social Research Centre, Guwahati, and has travelled extensively across the states of Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura for the same. She has convened a National Seminar on the Role of Women in Peace Processes on behalf of NESRC and has had the chance to host human-rights stalwarts and gender economists like Teesta Setalvad and Ritu Dewan. She plans to stretch her research experiences in a doctoral study on gender and migration across South Asian borders. Kusumika is also a mentor with Catalyst to enhance capacities in social science research aspirants and has conducted workshops across prominent institutions and has conducted “Certificate Course on Research in Social Sciences” across two cohorts in 2019 and during Lockdown 2020.

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