On the Art of Doing and Communicating Research

Akshay Alladi had a lovely response to my post from yesterday:

There is a follow-up tweet to the tweet I’ve linked to above, please read it as well.

Today’s post is a placeholder post, in a manner of speaking. I want to expand upon each of the points I am going to make below. But for the moment, a simple list of five things I was reminded of when I read Akshay’s tweet.

  1. “Sure it works in practice, but does it work in theory?” is a joke, but as with all good jokes, it is funny because it is true.
  2. Research work is hard, and the greater the body of work that precedes it, the more incremental it tends to be. Or should I be saying ‘needs to be’?
  3. To what extent is the second point an inevitability given the depth of research in a particular field, and to what extent is it a rational response to your incentives and your choice set?
  4. Related to the last point, explained well towards the end of the same post: how do we incentivize folks to be bolder when it comes to taking up research questions, and what are the opportunity costs of doing so?
  5. Related to the fourth point now, and something that I would like to focus on myself: how do we get better at disseminating research, both within a particular community and to the world at large?