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Friday, May 17, 2019


What is the factor that determines whether your study is significant enough for a research?
Why should we ask this question to ourselves?

1. That‟s because many postgraduate students claim that their research is significant enough to be read by policy makers and therefore, it will influence the policy to be amended. Sounds familiar?

2. My question to you now is, was this included in your research objective? Or was this simply the motive of your research?

3. Well, not really “but that‟s what my supervisor told me!”
I will reserve my comment on that but allow me to clarify a few things. First, when you embark on a research, the study is a must in order for you to obtain your master degree or PhD degree, as an evident of your academic achievement in line with the university‟s requirement. In other words, it is a prerequisite for your graduation. The thesis or dissertation is meant to add knowledge to you and as a contribution to the body of knowledge in your field.

4. So, really, you are not writing for the policy makers. That has never been in your research objectives anyway. Even after you have finished writing your thesis, there will not be any effort towards that goal too! The reality is, once you have passed your viva, your thesis will be catalogued in the resource centre just like any other reading material or perhaps the most, some parts of your thesis will be published as an article to contribute to the body of knowledge. That‟s all there is to it.

5. Think about it. It‟s kind of funny to read a research that merely utilizes descriptive analysis or simple inferential statistics to go with the questionnaire, some even go for convenient sampling, and the researchers still have the guts to claim that it is worthy for policy makers‟ reading material and for them to change existing policies!

6. Now show me one article of that stature from the thousands of theses written, that has actually managed to change any policy at all. None? What actually took place was simply you earning the degree and recognition of your scholarly effort. That‟s all. Do not embarrass yourself by claiming in your thesis statement that your research is earth moving and can change the policies because your research is just at the tip of the iceberg and has reached nowhere yet!

7. I want to make things easy. I am in the opinion that your research is significant if you have done the following:

 construct a model / instrument / tool / module / prototype that is valid and reliable
 test the effectiveness of a model / Instrument/ tool/ module in a new context
 expand a model / Instrument/ tool/ module by adding a new variable
 improve an instrument (eg. questionnaire, inventory) by improving its reliability and validity
 strengthen the research methodology prior to a comprehensive procedure
 triangulate findings from qualitative study by adding new data
 clarify in detail a certain issue by conducting an in-depth research
 merge theories / principles in order to obtain a more comprehensive research finding / to identify correlation between new variables
 explore new area / test new variable
 provide alternative to resolve current issues

8. Ten reasons will probably be enough to signify the research you are working on. Those justifications are reasonable and logical to warrant why you embark on the research as compared to you wanting to help policy makers because it is definitely not your main priority and in reality it does not happen at all. Be mindful that your thesis will most likely end up on the shelves of the library or resource centre only for further reference in the future.

9. Why bother writing, then?
There‟s a simple answer to that. Thesis writing gives you the experience and the knowledge to conduct research in a systematic manner. Your thesis is the proof that you have the knowledge and you are on your way to building up your own expertise. This is different from getting a grant given by certain authorities to research an issue and resolve a problem. This scenario happens when you are normally collaborating and working as a team.

10. For now, complete your thesis. The policy can wait! In fact, when that time comes, you will not need any thesis from any universities to tell you to change the policy. If you ever visit such universities, it will be a visit to collaborate on research.

Im just using some basic common sense !


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