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Educationally Speaking

Corporatisation and education: Are children turning into robots?

Debaroopa Bhattacharyya



In the two decades of my teaching and consultation career, whenever I have counselled parents or conducted seminars and workshops with them, I have invariably begun with: “Where do you see your children ten years from now?” And I have always been bombarded with answers containing this one very loaded adjective: Successful. All parents want to see their children as successful professionals, successful artists, and successful sportspersons—come what may. I find it appalling how not a single parent, in all these years, ever declared that they imagined their child would grow up to be “healthy”, “happy” or “resilient”, irrespective of their profession and the moolah they make annually.

Let’s face some harsh facts before taking this discussion further. One in four teenagers in India suffers from depression. Over the last five years, more than 40,000 students committed suicide in India. Last year, 8,492 students committed suicide. One student commits suicide every hour in India. Teenagers who experience cyberbullying are more likely to suffer from poor sleep, which in turn raises levels of depression, according to a new study by the University at Buffalo. The study surveyed more than 800 adolescents for sleep quality, cyber aggression, and depression, each phenomenon connected to the other. Cyber victimisation has emerged as a unique form of peer victimisation and a major mental health concern among teens who are digital natives. And yet, we keep telling ourselves that today’s teenagers are just fragile or obsessed with their looks—such blame games only making the diagnosis and treatment of teenage depression more challenging.

Covid-19 has further endangered the future of 600 million children in South Asia, according to UNICEF. In India, school closures have impacted 247 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary schools and 28 million pre-school children in Anganwadi centres. The Childline India Helpline received almost 4.6 lakh calls in just 21 days around the beginning of the lockdown. There was a 50% increase in the number of calls pertaining to instances of child abuse. Nearly 10,000 of these calls were intervention cases which required Childline staff to reach the children in need of support. Of these, 30% of calls were related to escalation in violence, child sexual abuse, child marriage and child labour.

The lockdown and the consequent economic distress made children vulnerable to exploitation, sexual abuse, violence, child labour and trafficking. Being away from school has also disrupted their daily routine and support system outside their homes.  Other factors such as staying indoors all day long and adapting to online classes have increased the sense of isolation among children, leading to anxiety and depression. An increased exposure to screens and to online abuse has also severely affected the mental health of adolescents. As of June 2019, only 40% of the population had access to the internet, making it extremely difficult for students in rural areas to join online classes, which only added further to their anxiety levels.

These statistics bring us face to face with some uncomfortable questions. What then is being successful? Does being successful in terms of examination results ensure the absence of defeat forever? Does success in terms of professional laurels mean the exclusion of failure altogether? Does success in terms of seemingly perfect relationships mean the complete absence of fear and insecurities? Does a great career mean a smooth ride throughout with no rough seas ever?

The answer—whether you like it or not—is that none of these are mutually exclusive. Success and failure are the two sides of the same coin. Therefore, we need to train our children to not hanker after a utopian world where only “success” exists. Rather, right from an early age, let them get acquainted to the thorns just as much as the roses. Let us teach children to deal with failure as a stepping stone to success and to handle success not as an end in itself. Let us not force them with unrealistic expectations and provide them the time and space to grow at their own pace. Let us enforce discipline by setting examples instead of instructing them. Let us encourage an atmosphere where disagreement and debate can happen without abuse and violence, without any shame or fear of being judged. Let us stop body-shaming ourselves and our children and take pride in the people we are. Let us promote healthy food habits, but also bond over a pizza and favourite TV show on the weekends.

A recent advertisement by a popular tech startup, which made news after it was acquired by an edu-tech giant, shows how with its advanced courses in coding, children as young as six years old will be able to create apps and bring about much-needed change, including solutions to complex problems like fixing the earth and environment. The company has also generated much controversy over fake claims of facilitating a kid who learnt coding with the firm and found a high paying job at Google. The company is also facing allegations of corporate surveillance, as a result of which, several of their videos have been taken down.

This enterprise is a minor embodiment of the present modernization project unleashed by corporate capitalism which aims at creating a technologically-empowered high-functioning population of children and enabling them to become high-earning teenagers, besides, of course, high expectations from their career trajectories as adults. What these corporate giants capitalise on is the modern parents’ dream of having such “tech-geniuses” with the lure of assured money and fame. In India, it is not uncommon to use “science and technology” as tranquilising shots for the universal anxiety of parents about the future of their kids. The hidden agenda amidst all of this which deserves our scrutiny is the dangerous mission of these edu-tech giants of corporatizing education and presenting the early learning of technology as palatable to both adults and children.

Can we really burden our children with the responsibility of finding solutions to problems that generations of modern adults have failed at? Is it right to lure such young minds with dreams of “greatness”? Yes, the future of a nation and its people depends on how its children are trained and taught, but does intelligence only restrict itself to the learning and application of mindless technology? In the absence of a proper humanitarian backing for education and technology, we find our computer algorithms to exhibit the same biases as human beings. As corporate capitalism takes over the world, ordinary people stand at serious risk of having their behavioural and psychological patterns exploited by corporate giants to benefit their scheme of making profits. We need to stop falling prey to these fads that are slow-poisoning our children into growing up too fast. Instead, let us think of why, in spite of all these gadgets, most of our children do not feel happy and secure. How can we dispel their insecurities? How can we extend genuine support and make them feel loved, irrespective of their academic and non-academic performance? How can their self esteem, and problem solving abilities be fortified?

Here, we may consider borrowing a few pages from the manuals of parents in countries which rank high on the index of the happiest children in the world, namely Finland and the Netherlands. Dutch parents choose schools which lay more stress on children imbibing social skills rather than over academic achievement. Dutch parents abstain from using cars and have their children bike all year round. Dutch parents also encourage their children to express their opinions and preferences and negotiate their case in a very democratic way from as early as the age of three. Meanwhile, Finnish children practise sisu, an attitude of not quitting when faced with a challenge, whether it is for putting together a difficult puzzle or resolving a dispute with another child. In Finland, toddlers also carry their own plates and cutlery to the dirty dish cart after eating meals. These are the ways in which they learn independence from a young age.

We don’t even need to go that far. If we take a stroll through our own history, we find that under the Gurukul system, all shishyas, irrespective of their socio-economic status, co-inhabited dormitories with basic but equal amenities throughout their student lives, and grew up learning not only academic and administrative skills, but also social and life skills, which made for holistic education. The system also taught them to nurture nature, look after the community, and manage all their daily chores independently. As a result, this system not only created more complete and confident individuals, ready to take on life under all circumstances, but also instilled a sense of discipline, communal responsibility, social equality and brotherhood among pupils drawn from different strata of society.

As parents, it is not only our duty to help our children grow with the right facilities and amenities, which we fiercely compete with other parents to provide our kids with, but also to help them grow with the right attitude. Most children, especially in urban areas, are growing up with a looming sense of ennui and a lack of direction. Everything, from gadgets to books to chores to relationships, becomes “boring” after the first test drive and it’s time for the next adventure, leading our children and young adults to precarious experiences like substance abuse, promiscuous relationships, multiple sexual partners, an over-the-edge style of living and so on. Besides that, there is a general sense of taking everything for granted as material things are more readily available to children today. From this stems an infectious trait of ingratitude towards health, opportunities, relationships and the environment. And when parents surrender to this attitude, they are not only pushing their children further towards a world of alienation, loneliness and misplaced goal posts, where the latest gadgets are their ambitions and social media profiles are friends, but also contributing heavily towards weakening a nation which needs its human resources to take her to newer heights tomorrow.

We need to work towards helping our children grow into industrious and patriotic individuals who can build a stronger, more vibrant and more inclusive nation, instead of turning into a brood of app-making clones pursuing only what is fashionable and monetarily gratifying. Why don’t we involve our children in nation-building activities like being a part of the army, police, hospitals, social welfare departments, flood relief operations, the spastic society, rural development centres, culture departments, tribal and minority development departments, women and child welfare departments and other such areas? It can do well to have children do at least six months or a year of mandatory hands-on service for any of these sectors where they stand to benefit from understanding the woes of the have-nots or their brethren who fight daily battles for their survival and identity. This would instil in the Gen Z some gratitude for the gifts they take for granted and often squander at the altar of misled fancies.

Education that does not build character is hardly worth its name and success that doesn’t teach you to handle failure isn’t worth pursuing. Success is not a skill you can acquire, it is a by-product. If life skills—just like technical skills—are soundly internalised, there is no reason why success can ever elude our children. And this success would be far more holistic and meaningful than scoring a 99.99 percentile in the classroom.

The writer is founder and editor-in-chief of Tribe Tomorrow Network. The views expressed are personal.

Dutch parents choose schools which lay more stress on children imbibing social skills rather than over academic achievement. Finnish children practise sisu, an attitude of not quitting when faced with a challenge, whether it is for putting together a difficult puzzle or resolving a dispute with another child. In Finland, toddlers also carry their own plates and cutlery to the dirty dish cart after eating meals. These are the ways in which they learn independence from a young age.

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Educationally Speaking

Why Teacher Performance Evaluations Are Important



Why Teacher Performance Evaluations Are Important

Good educational outcomes are a residue of having highly qualified and experienced teachers. The quality of a good teacher is weighed through the teacher’s evaluation. A teacher’s evaluation puts out their performance and conduct in context and compares them against a set of certain standards. 

Evaluating teachers has proved a daunting task yet crucial because it informs future decisions. The evaluation must set clear and rigorous expectations to be successful and effective. Teachers’ evaluation is also made fair by using objective data to measure the performance against some standards. 

Finally, giving evaluation feedback enables the teachers to reinforce their strong points and improve their shortcomings.

Why should teachers be evaluated? Here are a few reasons why teacher evaluation is critical in maintaining a high-quality level of education and meeting the student’s attainments.

  • Improving Teacher Quality

Today, a teacher’s evaluation focuses on instructional and student achievements. For a teacher to be termed as effective, they should have a good mastery of instructional techniques, be well experienced, collaborate with colleagues, and have participated in professional development. 

Teachers’ evaluation helps recognize great teachers who can replicate methods and styles. Good teachers must then be regarded as positive reinforcement to inspire others. Teacher evaluation helps identify teachers’ shortcomings, thus exposing the teachers that require extra training to teach effectively.

  • Improves Teacher Accountability

Teacher evaluation plays a major role in professional development, preparing programs, and building trust among administrators and colleagues. A teacher’s accountability helps the administrators and educators reach the steps necessary to improve their relationship and improve the students’ performance. For example, a teacher’s evaluation acts like a road map where the educators set tangible goals to be reached at a specified time.

  • Encourages Professional Development

Teacher’s evaluation encourages professional development because it deals with formative goals. These goals guide, improve, recognize and reinforce teaching excellence. They assist teachers in planning the educational activities and help teachers focus solely on the student’s outcome. The Adobe Education Exchange comes in handy as an educator’s resource for teachers whose students are taking on projects. This greatly helps the teachers in guiding students and planning the educational activities.

  • Encourages Greater Teacher-Student Collaboration

A teacher is expected to have the capacity to plan, lead, initiate, develop teaching and education in both general and subject-specific knowledge. This is critical because it gives the teacher the capacity to connect teaching and research. For example, when students research the science project ideas 4th grade, the teacher can guide ideas and topics best suited for the student. This kind of collaboration is greatly encouraged by teachers’ evaluations.

How effective is teacher evaluation?

Teachers’ evaluations are critical and integral to our education system. This is because it ensures that we have experienced and qualified teachers geared towards teacher-student collaboration for the greater good, that is, excellent student outcomes. Giving meanin

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Educationally Speaking

School Canvas launched to provide edtech for students’ career routes

School Canvas, previously known as Parentsalarm is one of the leading ed-tech firms in the country. It is recognized as a leading ERP provider in the ed-tech space.



School Canvas, formerly known as Parents Alarm was launched recently at Eldrok India K 12 Summit 2022. Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar, Founder, School Canvas, was one of the speakers at the event where he announced the official launch of School Canvas, a one of its kind school ERP solution.

The platform has been designed and launched by rebranding Parents Alarm. Parents Alarm was earlier conceptualized with the sole aim to offer seamless educational experiences to the students. Now known as School Canvas, it is one of the leading ed-tech firms in the country. The idea behind the name was simple- just like canvas is a plain white board and offers artists a chance to paint as per their creativity and desire; the platform offers ERP software basis the module or the process the school wants to automate! Whatever the school needs (writes on the white board about their requirements) regarding their automation of specific module; they aim at catering to the requirements of the schools as well as the students and parents to ensure seamless school management.

Eldrok is one of the world’s leading business exhibitions and conference organizers specializing in conceptualizing events in the field of education. The summit was organized at Taj West End, Bengaluru on 7th January 2022. It witnessed the presence of various renowned professionals and experts from the field of education including Principals, School Directors, Founders, and Chairman from different boards like CBSE, ICSE, CAMBRIDGE, and IB Boards. Mr. Kanhaiya took this opportunity to share about the launch of its platform, it’s rebranding as well as the innovation behind the product.

Ever since its inception in 2010, the brand has gained recognition as a leading ERP provider in the ed-tech space. School Canvas is the country’s first ed-tech firm to implement the open API concept. It offers a host of services such as attendance tracking, homework notifications, as well as fee reminders. The brand also helps schools with notification/notice circulation, bus/GPS tracking, e-content, performance updates, and much more. In the first 9 years of their existence, School Canvas’ associations were limited to just schools. However, since the past two years, they have expanded their footprints into conferences and conclaves as well.

Expressing his elation on the launch of School Canvas, Mr. Kanhaiya Kumar, Founder, School Canvas, “It gives us immense joy to share that we have rebranded Parents Alarm and have officially launched School Canvas. We realized that various gaps exist in the Indian education space. We wanted to bridge this physical-digital gap in the education domain as well as revolutionize the space with digital innovations. Over the years, we developed our platform constantly and built it into the ERP software. However, we wanted to innovate it further and ensure it emerges as the go-to solution for the effective management of schools. Hence, we thought of rebranding Parents Alarm as School Canvas. We are excited to have launched it officially and are hoping it will continue disrupting the education space in the times ahead as well. “

Headquartered in Chennai, the brand has been in the market for over a decade by the name of Parents Alarm and has grown exponentially ever since. It is a one-stop ERP solution providing a smart, straightforward, and innovative school management system that allows running schools smoothly in the online space as well as communicating with parents in real-time.

School Canvas is a school management solution ensuring streamlined workflow and high-end educational experiences for the students. With its various modules of learning management, communication management, report card analysis and generation, GSP tracking as well as transportation management, online fee collection as well as payment collection; the platform is helping schools turn paperless in the truest sense! School Canvas with its innovative concept and new-age features is playing a major role in bringing parents closer to their children’s school life.

About School Canvas

Incepted in the year 2010, School Canvas is a leading ERP solution for schools enabling automation of the schools. The platform provides superior educational experiences backed by technological innovations. Headquartered in Chennai, it has a robust clientele of over 550 schools across the country. The firm strives to provide high-end school automation services to its clients with its outcome-based approach and robust digital foundation.

School Canvas formerly known as Parents Alarm launched school ERP solution recently at Eldrok India K 12 Summit 2022.

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Educationally Speaking

Kids Opt For Audio Learning As It Simplifies Reading, Understanding

Audiobooks are more effective as the mind of students is focused on one voice and they can recall words and sentences; this new technique also explains concepts in easy language and helps in completing courses faster



Data availability is no longer a challenge in the digital age. A simple Google search can open gateways to knowledge and information, which was not the case a few years ago. Furthermore, data sharing has become more accessible than ever too. However, more than the quantity of data, the quality of information matters the most, especially for students preparing for competitive exams.

In the context of coaching institutes and educational institutions, quality data available is required for achieving targets. For instance, the coaching institutions preparing students for competitive exams would want to ensure that such good quality content is supplemented with other factors that help the aspirants attain their goals.

Audiobooks or audio learning methods have been introduced to simplify reading, understanding, and memorizing processes. Many students and aspirants prefer this strategy because it involves listening to books or studying material rather than reading it.

Audio-based learning is more effective as your mind is focused on one voice rather than several. You can recall the words and sentences when you hear something rather than reading it. Audio learning also aids in completing courses faster during competitive exams. It explains concepts in easy language and a consistent tone with real-life examples, keeping you involved in the learning process. As per a recent study, students who opted for audio-based learning could achieve their study goals faster.


Listening makes learning very easy to grasp and understand. All you need is concentration when you are reading or studying a subject. You can plug in your headphones to block out all distracting noises. When you use audio learning, it also makes it easier to write important topics in between. In reading, however, this is not the case. You cannot write while reading, but you can with audio learning.


When you read something, you are frequently distracted by various factors. When you do not understand a word or its pronunciation, you either look it up in a dictionary or Google it. However, the entire audio learning explains the most difficult words in easy lines and assists you in memorizing themes by ensuring that you comprehend them correctly. Also, listening does not necessitate much mental or physical effort.


As there is limited time in each day and competitive preparation necessitates extra studying time to perform better than competitors, time management is another vital aspect in an aspirant’s success. In such situations, audio learning comes in handy and provides advantage due to its passive listening facility, aspirants may continue their preparation while doing other chores like cooking, walking, exercising or even resting, thus converting their non learning time into learning time.


Audio learning, like books, is available for all disciplines. You may switch languages and teach any subject you want with a single click. Audio learning includes all study materials found in books. It can also solve Math problems with a reference pdf to follow the steps correctly. Audio learning follows a conversational format that keeps you focused on your studies.


With the advent of technology, physical books are being replaced with audio learning, which is becoming a new trend in education because it saves time, effortless to learn from and helps to keep our concentration strong without distracting us. Audiobooks offer many advantages that make them superior to books. You no longer need to carry books. Instead, you only need a device that contains all audiobooks. Such an approach could act as a boon for the aspirants preparing for competitive exams.

The Author is Co-Founder and COO, Khabri

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Educationally Speaking

Neet PG Exam 2022 Postponed By 6-8 Weeks



The Union Health Ministry on Friday postponed the NEET PG exam 2022 by six to eight weeks, keeping in view the clash in dates with NEET PG 2021 counselling.

The Ministry, in its notice, said, “…lot of representations were being received from medical doctors regarding a request to delay NEET-PG 2022 examination date i.e. March 12, 2022, as published…since it is clashing with the NEET PG 2021 counselling. Also, many of the interns would not be able to participate in the PG Counselling 2022 by the month of May/June 2022.” “Keeping the facts in view, Union Health Ministry has taken the decision to postpone NEET PG 2022 by 6-8 weeks or suitably,” the notice read.

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Educationally Speaking

Rephrased Content: How much is this acceptable in professional writing.



Rephrasing is the technique of rewriting a text in a new way while maintaining the original meaning. The majority of people misinterpret rephrasing and believe it merely entails rewording or rephrasing the language. Rephrasing includes modifying the sequence of words in the text, whereas rewording is a simple procedure of replacing terms with synonyms. Rephrasing in an academic environment refers to expressing someone else’s ideas or work in your own words in an essay paper.


In simple terms, paraphrasing or rephrasing is the process of putting a concept or piece of information into your own words. This method is commonly used to demonstrate your ability to present the same material in your own words, demonstrating your comprehension.

  • According to Wikipedia, paraphrasing is the repetition of a text using other terms while maintaining its original meaning.
  • The Oxford Dictionary defines paraphrasing as “changing the sentence formation of a remark published by someone else.”

When reading a novel, book, article, or report with a complicated sentence structure, it can be difficult to understand or take a long time to grasp the gist of the source. As a result, paraphrasing is necessary to transform a complex sentence into a simpler one. It makes it easier for the average reader to comprehend.

When paraphrasing, the writer researches by reading a variety of sources and texts that have similar messages. They read them, set them aside, and then compose their article or academic paper without consulting the reference texts they had previously read. One inserts their own words, message, or concept from many sources and literature.

Rephrased Content in Professional Writing 

Plagiarism is a severe threat to your writing plan. It raises your chances of falling behind in the rankings race. Your aim is to stand out among the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of other sellers and product promoters. Paraphrasing is a technique that writers can use to avoid plagiarizing content in their text without committing plagiarism. Using rephrased content is not illegal at all, but you need to show ethics by not copying its core. You just can extract an idea from the content & then put it in your own word & writing style.

For using paraphrased content, you must be careful of the following aspects: the meaning is the same in both cases. The majority of the wording has been altered. The sentences have been restructured extensively. The data is backed up with references. These are a few points that can save you from plagiarizing & slide you into a safer zone of paraphrased content.

Blogging is a popular way for professional writers to advertise their company ideas. You won’t go through this unless you develop original content that isn’t plagiarized. People are intelligent enough to recognize the original, and by doing so, you risk jeopardizing your credibility. Similarly, your competitor may file a lawsuit accusing you of stealing. Therefore, if you want to build your consumer base or produce leads, you’ll need original content.

As a result, a sentence changer spares you from these issues by completely paraphrasing your information.

When creating a blog, a paraphrasing tool saves your time and work. You can put the time and effort you put into writing a plagiarism-free blog toward creating more material. A paraphrasing tool completes the paraphrasing process in a matter of seconds. Due to the easy accessibility of sentence changes, you no longer need to invest time or physical effort in rephrasing online

It takes time to get to the bottom of the theme of improved expression. Writing a single unique blog can take several hours. However, you may utilize the tool to rephrase numerous pieces of material in a significantly shorter amount of time.

It is also best to adjust the writing structure and the text, delete unneeded portions and simplify the language to avoid plagiarism. If the writer uses the author’s direct quotation, they must use quotation marks and include a proper in-text citation with a page number; otherwise, plagiarism checkers, whether unpaid or paid, will flag it as duplicated content.

Many online plagiarism remover and paraphrasing tools are available based on complex algorithms that deliver high-quality content rephrasing to its consumers. These online paraphrase tools don’t just replace a few words with synonyms; it aims to provide you with a newer version of an existing article that includes a thorough restatement. 

Sometimes, users are not required to register or pay anything to utilize an online plagiarism checker. Its automated algorithms handle everything without the need for human intervention. So, after rewriting your content must pass your article through a plagiarism test.


Rephrasing content is a clever choice because it provides adequate proof to back the views and ideas. It is an essential component of professional writing, and research has shown that paraphrasing aids in acquiring new subjects. By combining numerous topic ideas into a single cohesive article, paraphrasing is also an excellent method for avoiding plagiarism. For professional writing in general, paraphrasing is a highly respected choice.

You can reap the benefits of content writing if and only if you improve your skills and use tools such as the rewrite tool. To get listed on top pages and generate leads as a content writer, you must develop interesting, plagiarism-free, SEO-optimized content.

By creating SEO-friendly, entertaining, and plagiarism-free blogs and reviews, you can realize your aim of reaching the pinnacle of your online business. A paraphrasing tool can be helpful in this situation.

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Educationally Speaking

Strengthen your Ivy League admission preparation with research papers

Vivek Bhandari



One common factor that we have noted in the resumes of students admitted to the Ivy Leagues and other top colleges is the prevalence of research work while still in high school.

In this article, we explain how and why exposure to research helps students and the key steps in planning and writing high-quality research papers. There are three main reasons, as to why research papers help students stand out. A high-quality research paper shows that you have the energy and the initiative to go beyond what is taught in the class and apply it to real-life problems.

It shows that your interest in the subject extends beyond the questions provided at the end of the chapter. Secondly, you learn the discipline of not rushing intuitively to the likely answer, instead of using a deliberate process in which you are guided by the data. Lastly, in working with a skilled professor or mentor you learn how to organise your thoughts better, ask the right questions and try to answer those questions in the best way possible subject to the constraints. A good work product provides an insight into your mind, thought process and way of working.

The following steps apply to high school students that want to learn more and differentiate themselves by conducting research and documenting it with a research paper.


The first question a student needs to answer is, “What is your favourite subject ?”. Do you like reading books and news related to that subject?

If for example, your favourite subject is economics, do you like to read the business newspaper, about the budget or interest rate changes? Are you able to relate what you have read in your textbooks with what you observe in the newspaper?

If your favourite subject is Physics, do you like to participate in science fairs or Olympiads in your school or city? Do you enjoy reading books by eminent Physicists? Do you like making science projects or designing models?


Once you know your subject, the next step is to find a strong mentor with experience in that field. You can find good mentors from an industry background or academia. For conducting research, it is advisable to have a mentor from academia as they are used to thinking broadly and spending time on framing the right question. Mentors with an industry background are generally better if you are trying to learn a specific activity or skill pertaining to their area.

Literature Review – Examine existing research papers in your subject

A crucial step in the research is to evaluate existing materials and recent developments in your subject. You need to know; a) the important topics that researchers are working on and b) what tools, statistical methods and data collection techniques are used. This is where a good mentor can share their work and help you understand the recent developments in that field.


Before you embark on a project, you need to understand what you can and cannot do. The time and resources available to, and the expectations from, a doctoral student is different, than those from an undergraduate student.

It is important to understand: i) the available time frame and ii) the available resources before you launch. For example, if you have access to a laboratory where you can test samples or conduct experiments, your data collection will be markedly different from someone who is conducting similar research based on a literature review. Understanding the constraints also helps the student decide whether to pursue Primary or Secondary Research.


By now you should be ready to choose your topic. The topic can be based on: a) recent events or research, b) your vision or imagination or c) literature review. You should have an idea of your constraints (available time and resources) available to you in your pursuit. At this stage, you should discuss your research plan with your mentor and finalise the topic.


The number 42 is, in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything,” calculated by an enormous supercomputer named Deep Thought over 7.5 million years. Unfortunately, no one knows what the question is. Thus, to calculate the Ultimate Question, a special computer the size of a small planet was built from organic components and named “Earth”.

In real life, not asking the right question does not always lead to a dramatic answer like 42. However, it always leads to a significant waste of time and effort. Therefore, its important to take time and carefully frame your question or hypothesis.


With a well-designed framework and research plan in place, you are finally ready for the races. You can start collecting the data and use it to answer your question(s). Despite all the planning and effort, you will still find new issues and problems. You may be able to overcome some of these yourselves and should consult with your mentor on the ones you find insurmountable.

A high-quality research paper provides an insight into your thought process and work ethic. The experience of learning your favourite subject beyond the textbooks while working with an accomplished mentor is an enriching and valuable life lesson. 

The writer is the Chief Executive and Co-founder of Scholarly.

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