Until you are able to answer this question, you would always feel frustrated about your research.
In research, doing something different doesn’t imply researching an entirely new topic. You can choose to work on a topic that has seemingly been over-worked on and still come up with a unique piece of work. The difference can be a slight change in the research method used.
Let me give you an example:
In 2016, my team members at the Global Shapers Calabar Hub signed up for a survey exercise organised by the World Economic Forum. This survey was titled the “Voice of the Youth” survey. It was aimed at getting as many young persons globally to provide their opinion on economic, scientific, environmental and social issues.
I took on the lead role for that survey. Yup! I naturally had an inclination for research early enough 😁
Note that so many teams the world over also signed up for that survey. So practically, everyone was working on the same research. Interestingly, there was a reward for the top 5 teams with the largest database of responses. This was also an online survey. The respondents had to enter their responses to over 40 questions into an online form. IP addresses were monitored so it was impractical to try to fabricate data.
Here was a challenge. In my community, not everyone had access to internet data and the questions were really long and tiring. But guess what? Our team made it to the top 5.
Here’s what we did differently:
We first transposed the online survey to paper questionnaire. Thanks to the skills taught at the Academic Hive Research Bootcamp by seasoned research mentors. 🤗
Next, we divided the research area (Calabar) into geographical segments (stratified sampling). I mobilised some undergraduate students, trained them on the tasks and assigned them to each segment (stratum) to collect data. Back at the office, we had data entry personnel who would get the paper questionnaire and enter the data into the online form.
Then we documented the entire process, took pictures and submitted them as an email to the Global Shapers Community. This erased the question of why the data were coming from the same IP addresses. The goal was also achieved, we stated that our process was inclusive as it gave an opportunity to youths without Internet access to participate in the global survey.
That was the icing on the cake.
I got the reward- a fully-funded trip to attend the WEF Global Shapers Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. Yes, I visited the UN headquarters in Europe. It also boosted my interest in air travel research. All these were possible because I did things differently.
What are you doing differently about your research? Fortunately, many graduate students are able to figure this out easily through this valuable resource by Academic Hive.