A research project may also be an expansion on past work in the field. Research projects can be used to develop further knowledge on a topic, or in the example of a college research project, they can be used to further a student's research prowess to prepare them for future jobs or reports. To test the validity of instruments, procedures, or experiments, research may replicate elements of prior projects or the project as a whole. The primary purposes of basic research are documentation, discovery, interpretation, or the research and development of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge. Approaches to research depend on epistemologies, which vary considerably both within and between humanities and sciences. There are several forms of research:
- Practitioner research
Higher education has seen a remarkable progress in Pakistan recently with an increasing number of students enrolling for Masters’ and Doctoral degrees.
However, research culture in the country is still far from being inspiring and is adversely influenced by a lack of third party supervision and a dearth of quality academic professionals. This has continually affected the caliber of Pakistani students.
Research training usually begins when a student pursues his M Phil or MS degree. Apart from course work, Pakistani institutions offer no help to enhance a students’ understanding of research and dissertation writing.
A students’ lack of critical thinking and writing skills only add to the problem.
After careful evaluation of the higher education sector, Professor Michael Rode, chairman of the United Nations Commission on Science, Technology and Development, wrote in 2008: “Never before have I seen such rapid positive changes in any country in the higher education sector as witnessed in Pakistan in a short period of six years. Around the world when we discuss the status of higher education in different countries, there is unanimity of opinion that the developing country that has made the most rapid progress internationally in recent years is Pakistan. The United Nations Commission on Science and Technology has closely monitored the development in Pakistan in the past years, coming to the unanimous conclusion that (the) policy and programme is a ‘best-practice’ example for developing countries aiming at building their human resources and establishing an innovative, technology-based economy.”
There were a few stray cases of ‘cut and paste’ research articles (plagiarism) but the HEC acted swiftly to put a stop to it. To generalize and make sweeping criticisms on the basis of a couple of happenings is wrong. Indeed Pakistan is probably the only country with a nationwide system in operation to detect cheating in research papers. Software was introduced in every university to check the theses and research papers regarding any illegally copied materials. A watchdog unit was also established within the HEC, and out of the 14,000 international research publications during 2011 and 2012, no cases of plagiarism were detected. In order to enhance the quality of teaching and research, about 84 quality assurance cells were established in all public sector universities.
Last but not the least, research students should empower themselves with language and research skills. Help from the federal ombudsman must be sought and a complaint against any mal-administration must be lodged.
By doing so, students can not only save themselves from degradation and exploitation, but can also counter those who oppress them.
In the final analysis, it is the views of neutral external experts who have carried out peer reviews of our higher education system and documented them in comprehensive and voluminous reports about remarkable changes in the landscape of higher education in Pakistan.